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Digging in: group raises efforts to stop quarry expansion as operator outlines position

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A Sunshine Coast community group has ramped up efforts to halt the planned expansion of a quarry.

The group, Save Our Glass House Mountains (SOGM), has conducted a range of initiatives to prevent Hanson from increasing its yearly extraction rate, extraction depth and operating hours at its site just west of the Glass House Mountains township.

The group holds concerns it could negatively impact cultural, environmental and economic aspects of the region.

But a Hanson official said it was committed to “operating respectfully within the community” while servicing the Sunshine Coast’s growing population with much-needed building material.

The Glasshouse Quarry is located at 22 Mount Beerwah Road, close to national park and state forest.

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Hanson submitted a proposal to Sunshine Coast Council last year, seeking to double extraction volume from 600,000 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes per year.

Council asked for more information, which Hanson is in the midst of compiling.

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

SOGM organiser Megan Standring said an expansion could impact the “national treasure” Glass House Mountains area.

“The organisation is particularly worried about increased traffic and pollution, cultural desecration of the sacred site, environmental health risks, threats to the local economy, disruption of the area’s peaceful balance and road safety dangers,” she told Sunshine Cost News.

SOGM consists of locals, elders, lawyers and environmental experts who are determined to safeguard the Glass House Mountains from the proposed quarry expansion. They started campaigning against the quarry’s plans last year.

Ms Standring said the group has been highly active in recent months.

“They have orchestrated a petition drive directly at the Glass House Mountains, joined forces with Queensland Conservation to collect signatures at the Woodford Folk Festival, and prompted the community to exhibit ‘No quarry expansion’ signs,” she said.

The group recently linked with Run Queensland to host an event that raised awareness about the expansion plans. Competitors from around the state converged on nearby Wild Horse Mountain for the Glass House Standing Backyard Ultra.

“It served as a strategic avenue to heighten awareness within the running community, which holds a particular appreciation for the Glass House Mountains,” Ms Standring said.

“This event not only aids in fundraising for their (SOGM) cause but also has the potential to attract media attention, thereby bolstering their resistance against the quarry expansion.

“It’s important for SOGM to continue engaging with the community, maintaining a visible presence and working with relevant authorities to address their concerns.”

There are plans to expand works at the Glasshouse Quarry. Picture: Shutterstock

Race director Brett Standring, who is Megan’s husband, said the event attracted almost 120 runners and their supporters.

“Run Queensland is proud to respond to the community’s request and has structured the event with the Glass House Mountains’ preservation in mind,” he said.

“All profits generated from the event are donated to the SOGM cause.”

Quarry manager Chris Wilson said company officials were conscious of the site’s surrounds and the people who live and work nearby, and he said they were focused on rehabilitation in the area.

“Hanson is committed to operating respectfully within the local community,” he said.

“This includes a continued commitment to regular and open communication with neighbours and local residents.

“We are regularly speaking with direct and surrounding neighbours about our day-to-day operations and future plans.”

He said the quarry was a crucial service to the region.

“As the Sunshine Coast population grows so does the need for supporting infrastructure and the materials required to build them,” he said.

“The Glasshouse Quarry is an important part of the supply chain for the growing construction industry on the Sunshine Coast.

“The quarry is a designated Key Resource Area which is recognised in the State Planning Policy for its importance to economic development within the region.

“Since 2003, Hanson has met all conditions for operating the quarry.

“They will continue to meet any new conditions that would be placed should the development application be approved.”

Different levels of rehabilitation at the quarry (top level 15 years, middle 12 years, lower nine years).

Mr Wilson also said efforts were being made to rehabilitate areas of the quarry.

“Rehabilitation is a continual process within quarry development: we have harnessed an early and gradual approach to ensure our rehabilitation is effective,” he said.

The quarry started operations in the 1980s and Hanson has operated it since 2003.

The quarry has supplied products to the building and construction industry to build local roads, bridges, pavement, driveways, house slabs, public services and amenities around the region.

He said Hanson was in the process of providing more detail to council.

“We look forward to providing the response to the information requests,” he said.

“Technical experts engaged by Hanson are preparing detailed responses to the information requests issued by the council and the state government.”

Mr Wilson said Hanson encouraged members of the community to contact it via glasshouseinfo@hanson.com.au or visit Glasshouse Quarry for more information.

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