Council upholds Rocky Hill mine position

David West at the recent council meeting sitting in between council's general manager, Glenn Handford and director Community Spaces and Services, Paul De Szell. Photo courtsey of MidCoast Council
David West at the recent council meeting sitting in between council's general manager, Glenn Handford and director Community Spaces and Services, Paul De Szell. Photo courtsey of MidCoast Council

The Rocky Hill Coal Mine project in Gloucester was a topic discussed at the MidCoast Council meeting held on Wednesday, October 25 in Taree.

In light of the Department of Planning and Environment’s recommendation to refuse the Rocky Hill Mine project application, mayor David West read out a mayoral minute reiterating the DPE’s decision and the council’s current stance on the project.

The minute restated former council administrator, John Turner’s comment about the project recorded in the council meeting minutes from October 12, 2016, as part of council’s submission opposing the mine. 

Councillor Peter Epov moved to amend to mayoral minute to include council’s endorsement of the DPE’s findings and the motion was carried unanimously.

On Monday, October 23, the DPE published letter to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) along with a final environment assessment report and a draft Notice of Refusal of Development Application.  

In the conclusion of the assessment, the DPE referred to Mr Turner statement as follows:

“Council’s previous administrator, Mr John Turner, summed up his view of the amended project as ‘this coal mine proposal is simply in the wrong place’ and is ‘simply too close to residential areas.”

The conclusion continued to state, “The department shares Mr Turner’s views, which it would seem, are also held by the majority of residents of the former Gloucester LGA.” 

The department stated that the amended proposal should be refused because of the following key issues:

  • Visual impacts would be significant;
  • Incompatibility with the land use zoning objectives for the site; and
  • Many additional residents would be affected by noise emissions, if the proposed noise mitigation proved ineffective.

Due to the number of community objections to the proposal, the final decision about the project must be taken by the independent PAC. This is the final phase of the planning assessment.

 A letter has been sent to interested parties who have provided comments or a submission to the DPE in regard to Gloucester Resources Limited’s Rocky Hill Coal Project and Stratford Extension Project MOD 1, to advise the meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 14 at the Gloucester Soldiers Club at 4pm.