Swan Valley Quarry impact played down

Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

PREMIER Colin Barnett has brushed aside claims that Hanson⿿s Red Hill Quarry extension could substantially scar the Darling Scarp and affect the view from the wider Swan Valley.

Mr Barnett, who has made several appearances in the Swan region lately, told The Advocate there would likely be a small impact on the Darling Scarp.

But Mr Barnett said he would not give any assurances about the visual impact while the final details were still being played out.

“I think there might be some visibility (of the scar) but I don’t think it will have a substantial impact — and that’s going to be managed very carefully from a planning and environmental point of view,” he said.

“I don’t believe it will have a major impact and I think there’s ways of almost camouflaging that.

“We need building material.”

Mr Barnett suggested that once it was built, the Swan Valley Bypass would beautify the Swan Valley by taking heavy traffic off tourist roads.

“I think there’s a lot more work to be done out in the Swan Valley — I think there’s too many signs, it looks a bit cluttered,” he said.

“Once you get that heavy traffic out I think it will take another step up. To have a wine growing region on the edge of the city is unique.”

Swan Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association president Jeff Williams said the Swan Valley was not against mining but the quarry activity needed to be hidden from the area.

He said the screening plan would not work and Hanson had made unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate another disused quarry nearby.

“The screening trees will not be able to grow close enough to the edge of the quarry to block the scar as the water table in that area will be disrupted by the quarry edge,” he said.

“The height would need to greater than 60m as this a probable minimum of the ridge reduction according to Hanson’s maps… there is no 60-metre tree growing on the scarp now (and) it is unlikely any trees will grow to a height of 60m or greater in the shallow, poor quality soil.”

Mr Williams requested a meeting with Environment Minister Albert Jacob.

However, Mr Jacob said a meeting was not necessary because all sites were managed through the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.

The Minister for Environment approved Hanson Construction Materials Pty Ltd’s proposal to extend the quarry in October, 2012, based on the implementation of 13 stringent conditions.

“Should the community have new information regarding the mapping and GIS co-ordinates related to the assessment, this information should be conveyed to the Office of the EPA,” he said.