Crucial date looms in long-running sand mine battle
SUNSHINE Coast Council remains committed to defending its refusal of a controversial sand mine proposal on flood-prone land in Forest Glen.
The declaration came as the council's legal team opted not to oppose what it said was a minor change to the development proposed by Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd.
The appeal was lodged in October, 2016, after the council refused an application for a 105ha, 30-year sand mine on Eudlo Flats Rd.
On November 30 last year the Planning and Environment Court ordered Maroochydore Sands to provide information to the council and its co-respondents, including Eudlo Creek Neighbours Inc, about proposed changes to its development.
The Daily understands the changes proposed include reducing the maximum extracted from 300,000 tonnes a year to 225,000 tonnes a year, but shifting from wet to dry processing.
The changes also included plans to extract cell-by-cell and build bunds around the extraction pits, or cells within the pits.
Council had rejected the building of bunds in its original refusal.
As part of the changes, the Daily understood the site would also be returned to agricultural land, meaning clean fill would have to be brought in and built up, to allow it to settle back to natural ground level.
A council spokesman said it issued a letter to all parties on April 9 advising that based on the material supplied by Maroochydore Sands, it wouldn't oppose the "minor change”.
"The parties were also advised that despite the minor change, council's position is that the proposed development in its changed form should still be refused,” the spokesman said.
Residents surrounding the proposed development mobilised effectively when the proposal was first reported, campaigning to have the sand mine refused based on a number of concerns including noise, dust and possible risks to nearby Eudlo Creek, which feeds into the Maroochy River.
Eudlo Creek Neighbours Inc spokesman Daniel Bryar said the group understood the council continued to remain opposed to the proposal "in all of its forms”.
"Eudlo Creek Neighbours had concerns with a number of the proposed changes, but would abide by any decision from the court on whether or not they are to be allowed,” he said.
"Eudlo Creek Neighbours, the community group fighting against the sand mine proposal, remains opposed to the project and will continue to pursue that direction through the court.
"When it returns to court on Monday we'll make our position clear, but won't impede the council in its refusal of the project.”
Maroochydore Sands directors didn't respond to questions sent to them this week regarding the change application.
The change application is due to be determined in court in the coming days, before the broader appeal is finalised at a later date.
Mr Bryar said while the group believed the changes could create greater impacts for local residents, if there was a risk to the desired outcome in court from the group independently pursuing the matters, then it would be prudent as a co-respondent to "leave the strategic direction at the foot of council”.