BOOMERANG ROAD, WORKS APPROVAL APPLICATION: Public Comment

As departments continue to review both Boomerang and Banksia Road mines in isolation, Hanson Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidelberg Cement, have now applied for a Works Approval which is currently available for public comment with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER); Hansons one-stop-shop for works approvals.

Selected residents recently received a letter from DWER advising:

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has received an application from Hanson Construction materials Pty Ltd for a works approval (W6163/2018/1) under Division 3, Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) at Lot 6 and Lots 300 and 301 Banksia and Boomerang Road, Oldbury. The application is in relation to:
Category 12 – screening etc. of material: Premises where material is extracted from the ground is screened, washed, crushed, ground, milled, sized or separated.

The new application for a works approval permit can be found on the DWER website using application number W6163/2018/1:

To summarise, the Works Approval is the “how”. The Works Approval should explain what controls are put in place to mitigate all risks and impacts to surrounding residents, particularly where the buffer zone has been considerably reduced from the 500 metre EPA minimum.

  • Download our Template Letter to get started (.docx, 27kB)
  • Download our Contacts List to include in your email (.docx, 480kB)
  • All public comment submissions due by 21st June 2019. DWER website incorrectly states 14th June.

 

BUFFER ZONE A SIGNIFICANT FAILING
According to EPA Guidance for the Assessment of Environmental Factors, buffer distances are required to separate industrial land use and sensitive land use to minimise health, safety and environmental impacts, considering typical emissions that may affect the amenity of nearby sensitive land uses (gaseous and particulate emissions, noise, dust, odour).

Appendix 1: Separation Distances between Industrial and Sensitive Land Uses

  • 500 metre buffer required for screening works (screening or sieving of sand, rocks, chemicals and minerals) due to noise and dust impacts.
  • 300-500 metre buffer for sand and limestone extraction (no grinding or milling works) due to noise and dust impacts.

The negligible buffer zone currently proposed is inadequate considering minute dust particles can travel for kilometres and particle density will vary significantly dependent upon weather conditions and distance from the mine.

DWER NEGLECTING RESIDENTS

In September 2018, the Casuarina Wellard Progress Association made contact with the DWER to discuss serious issues with the approval to mine Lot 6 Banksia Road and Lots 300 and 301 Boomerang Road, Oldbury. The CWPA had emphasised the importance of a proper meeting to discuss in detail, having specifically stated:

We feel it is important to have this meeting prior to any works approvals being considered or granted.

The letter further mentioned:

The Casuarina Wellard Progress Association not only represents residents of Casuarina and Wellard, it also represents residents of Boomerang and Banksia Roads, in Oldbury (adjacent to the proposed mine). We have significant concerns relating to the cumulative impact of two mine sites operating adjacent to each other and with impacts including conservation, noise, dust, amenity and road use. We also have significant concerns in relation to misleading claims by the proponent in relation to ‘Community Consultation’ for both this mine site and that of the adjacent Banksia Road site (lots 53 & 1320).

The only response received by an Officer delegated under Section 20 of the EP Act stated:

You will be contacted in the near future to make arrangements to meet at a Department office and to clarify the Departments role in regulating aspects of this proposal.

Contact was never made and no prior warning was given to the CWPA of the DWER’s intention to accept the application for a Works Approval. This behaviour is endemic to Hanson’s Banksia and Boomerang Road proposed sand mines and the uphill battle we face. At the time of writing this article still no response has been received.


REVIEW OF APPLICATION

Previous documentation and approvals made reference to the high-grade and high-quality Bassendean Sand located at these sites, a matter of utmost urgency that required the sand to be extracted to support concrete manufacturing in the construction industry. At one point the sand was supposedly required for export to Japan to support high-grade silica glass manufacturing, any justification to support approvals. Now, after years of delay and objections by the local community, we find our first evidence that this sand will just end up down the road for another unstable development on wetland soil, continuing to destroy the majority cleared Banksia Woodland:

PART 4, DESCRIPTION:
The site contains deposits of Bassendean Sand which is suitable for use as construction and fill sand.

Our initial review of the application to support public comment:

  • Part 5: Biodiversity Surveys ticked as Not Applicable, we believe it is very much applicable to consider the Banksia Woodland Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) listed on the 16th September 2016.
  • Part 6.2: Environmental Impact Assessment ticked as “not a significant proposal” despite a current referral assessment being in progress.
  • Part 6.3: References Clearing Permit CPS4935/1 which no longer exists.
  • Part 6.5: No evidence of water licensing provided, source of the water supply and its impact is unknown (if extracting ground water). To also note, water trucks will be required to support mining operations that have not been accounted for in the noise modelling or traffic volume.
  • Part 7.5: States all relevant planning approvals received, despite Hanson having failed to meet the conditions of the Western Australian Planning Commission approval (WAPC 29-50066-2) dated 26th March 2014.
  • Part 7.8: Further spread of incorrect information regarding the community being adequately consulted on this matter. The CWPA has consulted the surrounding community and very few residents could confirm any form of consultation relating to the Boomerang Road sand mine, whilst absolutely zero community consultation had occurred for the adjacent proposed Banksia Road sand mine.
  • Part 7.9: References “consultation undertaken with direct interest stakeholders as attachment 5 which does not exist with the application, no current and meaningful consultation has occurred as mentioned above. In fact attachment 5 is also referenced in Part 4.8 as a different attachment and is also not provided. Documentation and reference conflicts/inaccuracies exist all through the approvals process.
  • Part 9: Emissions and Discharges Table, only references noise from the direct mining operations. There is no mention of the additional noise pollution introduced outside the mine boundaries and disturbance to existing amenity, by significant increase in truck traffic.
  • Part 10.1: States the dwelling on Lot 36 Banksia Road is located approximately 110 m west from the excavation boundary within Lot 6 and the dwelling on Lot 30 Boomerang Road is located approximately 120 m north-east from the excavation boundary of Lot 301, contravening the minimum 150 metre separation distance that was approved in the mining license application.
  • Part 10.2: Fails to identify an Organic Tumulus Mount Spring TEC brought to attention by the CWPA in December (West of the site), conveniently not identified during the assessment. The impact of mining operations to this recently registered TEC is unknown as it was never assessed!
  • Part 10.3: Mentions controls in place to mitigate impacts to nearby degraded L120 TEC, though these limited controls are insufficient for the main Western TEC and have never been assessed.
  • Part 10.4: Specifies a map requiring “identification of distances to sensitive land uses and/or any specified ecosystems”, referring to the adjacent Banksia Road proposal. Approvals for the Boomerang Road mining proposal relied upon the full Banksia site existing, as a conservation covenant was imposed on the Boomerang Road site to ensure an ecological linkage to the Banksia Road site. Approvals in isolation by separate departments has created this situation, therefore a full re-assessment is required to understand the cumulative impacts!

The application does not contain supporting information relating to the intended truck routes, road upgrades required to support this traffic and then the expected damage and ongoing maintenance requirements by the City Of Kwinana, who have not approved any infrastructure upgrades and do not support the sand mines. Furthermore, the noise modelling only considers trucks inside the mine boundaries, neglecting the route taken by all trucks required to service the mine and road infrastructure adequacy to support these truck movements.

The cumulative impact of clearing and mining two adjacent sites has never been factored into any of the decision-making processes. Since Hanson propose to operate both mines concurrently, despite having sought approvals in isolation, the works approvals must seek combined modelling of the noise, dust, water extraction and traffic impacts for both sites as one operation.


REVIEW OF NOISE ANALYSIS

A Noise Impact Assessment prepared by Lloyd George Acoustics for Rocla (now Hanson) in 2009 was used to support Approval of the sand mine, the noise assessment formed part of the initial license application which made the following recommendations:

SECTION 6, RECOMMENDATIONS:

To comply with the Regulations during the daytime period, a 5 dB reduction is required to the overall LA10 noise level when the project reaches phase 2. To achieve this, the barrier effect of the quarry walls needs to be increased and it is recommended to construct a bund along the quarry wall with an RL of 25.0 metres at the top of the bund. In addition, the profile of the quarry wall should be such that the screen is enclosed on three sides. The effect of these noise control measures is presented in Figure 6.1.

Having since received approvals, it is evident Hanson have sought a new 2019 revision of the Noise Impact Assessment which no longer aligns to the original recommendations. The recommendations in the updated 2019 Noise Impact Assessment by Lloyd George Acoustics now states:

SECTION 6, RECOMMENDATIONS:

To achieve compliance with the Regulations during the daytime period, a 5 dB reduction is required to the overall LA10 noise level when the project reaches Phase 2. To achieve this, the barrier effect of the quarry walls needs to be increased and it is recommended to construct a 5m high bund along the eastern boundary. Generally it is most effective if this can be done during the construction phase of the project using the overburden. The effect of these noise control measures is presented in Figure 6-1.

The attempt to pass-through lower levels of controls through the DWER includes:

  • Sand bunds used to protect surrounding residents from noise pollution have been reduced from three sides (western/northern/eastern sides) down to one side only (eastern side), noise modelling conveniently adjusted to reduce the level of controls that supported initial mine approval.
  • Reduction of sand bund height from 7 metres (25.0 metre RL) to 5 metres (23.0 metre RL), this is based on the quarry floor being at 18.0 metres RL (ground level) as mentioned in the 2009 and 2019 Noise Impact Assessments.

Without the Sand Bunds proposed in the 2009 Noise Impact Assessment to ensure a level of protection with a RL of 25.0 metres (on all three sides), the residents of Wellard-East and Oldbury will be subjected to increased noise pollution with no evidence of recent and meaningful community consultation.

Let alone the noise from the Boomerang Road sand mine operation, the Noise Impact Assessment evidences up to 8 trucks per hour (total movements in and out), equating to 96 movements per day for this single mine alone and does not consider water and fuel trucks required to support mining operations. These figures do not yet include the adjacent proposed mine also operated by Hanson, and therefore the noise modelling is ignorant to the proposed future state of operations where Hansons intend to operate in parallel.

The Noise Impact Assessment and its controls are important because two residences have been identified in a region where noise exceeds the Regulations, yet neither owners have been consulted. As residents local to the area we know sound will travel much further than illustrated, the kart club on Boomerang Road and the train line can be heard in excess of a kilometre away.

Of further interest; an oxymoron on Page 4 in the Assessment:

In addition, as there are no other industries in the immediate vicinity, the noise from the proposed quarry would not be considered to ‘significantly contribute’ to the existing noise environment.

Implying that because there is no existing industry, the sound from the new industry won’t contribute to the noise environment? Ludicrous. As there are no other industry in the area, the existing noise environment would be zero or negligible and therefore the proposed sand mine would significantly contribute to the existing noise environment.

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