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Royalla quarry proposed for environmentally protected land

This article is wholly owned by The Canberra Times, and can be read in full here.

Pubilshed MAY 17 2021 - 3:30AM

After moving away from a quarry in south Royalla, Grace, Kylie, Kieran, Harrison and Abbey Hynes have been notified of a proposal to build a new quarry next door. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Just under a year ago Kieran Hynes moved his family to the northern end of Royalla to escape the perceived health risks associated with living beside a quarry in the border town's south.

Barely 10 months later, the Hynes family are facing the prospect of another quarry next door, proposed by their new neighbours, Monaro Rock.

The joint venture between Queanbeyan's Monaro Mix and Canberra's Pacific Formwork could see up to 750,000 tonnes of hard rock extracted annually from the environmentally-protected land.

While development for the purpose of extraction is prohibited on E2-zoned land under Queanbeyan's environment plan, in this case, the size of the project means state mining policy overrides local council law. Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will likely be consulted on the environmental and social impacts of the project only when - and if - it is given the green light by NSW government.

The consultancy company working for the developers, R.W. Corkery and Co., said the project would be assessed by state planning authorities due to its size.

Principal consultant Nicholas Warren said an environmental impact study (EIS) would include the project's effect on air quality, biodiversity, water, traffic, land production and Aboriginal heritage.

"These are in their preliminary stages," Mr Warren said.

"Tuggeranong is located to the west of the site and may experience noise, dust and other impacts.

"This will be determined in assessment and will be presented in the EIS."

Mr Warren said the developers were also seeking approval to construct an intersection on the Monaro Highway and were investigating the feasibility of building an access road from the site.

The proposal would require approval from ACT government to cross the border and access the Monaro Highway directly, he said.

Royalla Landcare's Maryke Booth said the area contained significant remnants of box-gum grassy woodland.

"There is less than 10 per cent of this type of vegetation left anywhere on the planet," she said.

Ms Booth said the proposed quarry would destroy a large portion of the area, which provides a habitat for the critically endangered pink-tailed legless lizard.

"Along with a habitat for a large number of regionally listed threatened and declining species of fauna and flora," Ms Booth said.

After 17 years beside the quarry in the south, Mr Hynes said he didn't have a lot of faith in what approval of a project meant for residents.

"They did all the tests but when pictures keep falling off the walls and you're four kilometres away, there's a difference between what they need to report and what's happening on the ground," he said.

Mr Hynes said his wife suffered from asthma and her father passed away from a lung complaint.

"The concept of having a lung complaint exacerbated by dust was a factor in us moving the first time," he said.

"Now the concept of having a quarry starting literally 1.5km away plus all these trucks going past has got her beside herself."

Mr Hynes said in addition to the Williamsdale Road quarry they moved away from, there was already a quarry at Queanbeyan.

"I don't understand what the business case would be for putting in another one," he said.

This article is wholly owned by The Canberra Times, and can be read in full here.

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