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Concerned Glass House Mountains community rallies against proposed quarry expansion

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Concerned community members are uniting to object to the proposed expansion of Hanson’s Glasshouse Quarry, which is currently before Sunshine Coast Council.

The quarry’s expansion plans include doubling its yearly extraction rate from 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) to 1.2 million tpa over two stages. Plans also include increasing its extraction depth and operation hours.

In its application to council, Hanson included detailed reports showing how it could increase extraction with a minimum impact to the surrounding environment and local community within the quarry’s current zoning.

Council’s initial assessment of the proposal has resulted in a request for Hanson to provide more detail after key issues were found with the application.

Council’s principal development planner John Borthwick wrote, in an information request letter to Hanson, that a community impact assessment report was required.

“It is understood that the applicant has been consulting with residents and community groups, but the extent of this consultation and the outcome is unknown,” he wrote.

Glasshouse Quarry is seeking approval for a major expansion.

A Hanson Glasshouse Quarry spokesperson confirmed the company recently received an information request from council.

“This is a standard procedure for all development applications,” they said.

“Hanson and the technical experts, which prepared the development application, are currently reviewing the information request.

“Hanson will continue to work closely with council about the matters raised in the information request.”

Council’s request for more detail comes as local residents prepare to hold a community forum to rally against the expansion plans tonight.

Save Our Glass House Mountains, a Facebook group opposing the expansion plans, was recently formed and sits at 1200 members.

Lead organiser Megan Standring said the group was deeply concerned about the expansion’s potential negative impacts on the surrounding environment, business, safety, cultural heritage and tourism industry.

Mark Tweddle and Megan and Brett Standring mapping out the area to deliver flyers for the meeting.

“We are teaming up with other groups like the Hinterland Quarry Action Group to work together, share resources and gain more traction with our campaign,” she said.

The group’s concerns centre on an increase in truck haulage, the quarry’s proximity to Mount Coonowrin, cultural impacts and the environmental effect of dust, pollution, vibrations and noise on residents.

“The proposed expansion would result in a significant increase in truck haulage, with approximately one truck passing through Coonowrin Road every minute,” she said.

“This increased traffic poses safety risks, especially given that the route passes right through a township and past the Glass House Mountain State School.

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“The quarry operates in proximity to Coonowrin, one of the Glass House Mountains, a nationally acclaimed heritage site drawing visitors from far and wide and provides a sanctuary for nature immersion.

“Such is the value of these mountains that they adorn pages 11 and 12 of the new Australian passport.

“The proposed quarry expansion raises questions about the inconsistency between promoting the region as a natural gem and concurrently permitting activities that could jeopardise its sanctity.”

Hinterland Quarry Action Group’s Anne Veivers and Save Our Glass House Mountains organiser Megan Standring.

She said the site’s profound importance to the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara communities, woven into their cultural and spiritual fabric, added an extra layer of complexity to the issue.

“One of our Jinibara men recently was on country when the blasts happened and it brought him to tears and because of all the ancient song lines,” she said.

Environmental factors were another major concern for the group.

“The proposed expansion is expected to lead to a surge in dust, pollution, vibrations and noise, which could disrupt the local ecosystem and compromise the delicate balance of nearby waterways,” she said.

“While Hanson submitted reports in its application, I would like to ask the council to do an independent report. The request for information is a very good start, we are pleased about that.”

She said the community forum at Glass House Mountains Community Hall would allow concerned residents to voice their objections and explore resolutions on the “significant issue”.

The forum will start at 7pm this evening at the Glass House Mountains Community Hall, at 8 Coonowrin Road, Glass House Mountains.

It is expected to include residents, local stakeholders and government and quarry representatives.

“In light of the far-reaching implications entailed by the proposed expansion, residents are determined to ensure that their concerns are not just heard but duly addressed by the local council,” Ms Standring said.

A truck at the Glasshouse Quarry.

The Hanson Glasshouse Quarry spokesperson said the company was committed to operating respectfully within the local community to minimise impacts from its operations to the greatest extent possible.

“This includes a continued commitment to regular and open communication with neighbours and local residents,” the spokesperson said.

“We encourage members of the community to speak with us directly via email at glasshouseinfo@hanson.com.au or visit glasshousequarry.com.au for more information.”

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