A planned quarry at bells Bridge has been refused by the council amid claims illegal work had already been done at the site.
A planned quarry at bells Bridge has been refused by the council amid claims illegal work had already been done at the site. Contributed

'Illegal' work at Gympie quarry seals its fate

A PROPOSED quarry at Bells Bridge has officially been quashed by Gympie Regional Council amid claims illegal activity was already under way at the property.

Councillors voted unanimously yesterday to refuse Fortrus Pastoral's application, despite the developers asking for a vote on the item to be deferred.

Mayor Mick Curran said he had been contacted asking for the application be withdrawn from the agenda.

However he moved for it to stay at yesterday's meeting given the high level of community interest in it, including more than a dozen Bells Bridge residents in attendance at the meeting.

 

Residents have rallied against a proposed quarry at Bells Bridge.
Residents have rallied against a proposed quarry at Bells Bridge, some of whom were in attendance at yesterday's meeting. Contributed

Planning director Gina Vereker called Fortrus's plan a "difficult" application which was "a good development if it was in the right location".

However concerns were raised about what had already been happening on the site.

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"They have blasted before, they have crushed before," Cr Bob Fredman said.

"I'm disappointed there has been activity there for quite some time that I understand to be illegal."

Cr Mark McDonald said the council would be creating its own difficulties if it gave a green light to the quarry, which sits "almost a stone's throw with a good arm" from nearby houses.

"It's extremely close to residences," he said.

 

Proposed Quarry site at Bells bridge in Gympie.
The site of the proposed quarry at Bells Bridge. Renee Albrecht

The need for another quarry in the region was raised by Cr Glen Hartwig, who said at the moment Gympie had them "coming out the wazoo".

"I'm just not sure we have a demand for (more) quarries," he said.

These issues, combined with the project's proximity to the notorious Wide Bay Highway-Bruce Highway intersection, ultimately led to the council quashing the quarry.

Fortrus's application received significant opposition from Bells Bridge residents.

More than half of the 70 submissions made about the quarry came from nearby residents.