FAMILIES in the Forbesdale and Jacks Rd area have spoken of their fears of what will happen to them if the Rocky Hill coal mine is approved.
Ed Robinson has lived in Gloucester for the past 16 years.
He runs a 400-acre beef cattle property on Jacks Rd and his boundary fence will be just 850m from the Rocky Hill mine.
Ed has major concerns over water impacts of mining on the Avon River floodplain that he believes will severely impact his livelihood.
“Both AGL and Rocky Hill will draw down on the water table,” he said.
“In the Stratford expansion plans it makes mention that in the middle years of all three mine projects the potential draw down on water could be as much as 140m.
“What will be the impact to the water coming off the Mograni? As far as my business is concerned the impact is likely to be a cumulative one, but no-one can tell me what the impact will be.”
Denise and Bruce Gilbert live in a small residential settlement just off the Bucketts Way at Forbesdale.
They’ve lived in the area for four years. They say before they moved to Gloucester, they had no idea there were plans to develop an open cut mine just over 1km from their home.
“We’ve put $600,000 into our home. Like a lot of people it’s our biggest and largest asset,” Denise said.
“You work all your life for it and to have an asset you might not be able to live in because of health concerns is heartbreaking.
“I don’t believe I could sell my property at all.”
Kathy Wardrop moved to Gloucester following the death of her husband.
Moving to Gloucester was a lifestyle choice for Kathy, who still had young children.
“I put all my eggs in the one basket and now I feel my property is worthless,” the Forbesdale resident said.
“We came here for a better future, but now I’ve been left with no choices.
“Pretty soon I’ll be living in an empty, worthless home. There will be no legacy for my children.”
Di Montague is the chair-person of Gloucester Residents in Partnership (GRIP).
Unlike the others, she does not live anywhere near the proposed Rocky Hill mine.
A community meeting in 2008 was the first time Di had ever heard of Rocky Hill.
Following the meeting, she helped form GRIP which has campaigned against the mine’s development ever since.
“Right from the beginning no-one wanted that mine. It was too close to town,” she said.
Her concern is that if the mine is approved, it will only be a matter of time before it looks to expand.
“Once the mine has got a foot in the door, they will keep mining. This will not stop here,” she said.
“The town will be impacted for years to come and no amount of money will ever get it back to what it was.”
Ms Montague says even if the development is not approved, the fight will be far from over.
“It doesn’t mean the area will be protected, only according to this particular proposal. An altered proposal could still be approved,” she said.
Forbesdale resident Robin Besier says people need to fight to protect their homes.
“Our fight is with the government. They’ve allowed mining to encroach on small communities like ours,”’ she said.
“We’re just the start. What I want people to understand is that this will not stop here. People need to start fighting for their land.”