Scar wars in Valley

Computer-generated images show a scar will be visible from major tourism routes in the Swan Valley but the extent of the visual impact has not been clearly defined.

The Darling Scarp is the culmination of millions of years of natural forces and provides a picturesque background to the Swan Valley�s $284 million-a-year tourism industry.

Tourism operators and residents are now concerned they might end up with a permanent scar like Gosnells, which has not been screened or rehabilitated.

Now that an Aboriginal heritage site has been delisted from the register, Hanson only needs to finalise several reports with the EPA before it can start quarrying in the extended footprint.

But there is still no clear answer on how much of the quarrying will be visible from the Swan Valley and surrounds.

The Advocate asked Red Hill quarry manager John Symonds detailed questions regarding the potential scale and impact of quarrying at Red Hill.

But Mr Symonds provided a generic statement that avoided the scarring question and went on to say �rehabilitation would commence as soon as possible�.

�Hanson has clear obligations as part of its approvals and permitted area of quarrying activity,� he said.

�All of the approvals granted for Red Hill followed over seven years of assessment and consultation at community, State and Local Government levels.�

Former Environmental Minister Bill Marmion, who later took the Mines and Petroleum portfolio, approved the quarry extension in October 2012.

His decision went against earlier EPA recommendations in January 2011 not to allow the extension and altered the footprint based on GPS co-ordinates supplied by Hanson.

Residents have been attempting to arrange a meeting with current Environmental Minister Albert Jacob through local member Frank Alban.

However, Mr Jacob said in a letter to Mr Alban that the screening and rehabilitation plan addressed short and long-term visual impacts and therefore a meeting was not required.

Mr Jacob did not respond to questions from The Advocate.

Swan Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association president Jeff Williams said the resultant scar would be large and visible all the way to Alexander Drive.

�The screening plan will not work because the necessary height of the screening will not be close enough to the edge and high enough to block to the visual pollution of the quarry� he said.

�This will have a negative effect on the outlook of properties in Swan Valley, Ellenbrook, Aveley and The Vines.

�To see an example of the failure to screen a disused Hanson quarry, one only has to look at the Herne Hill quarry from Lefroy Avenue, Great Northern Highway and many other places in the Swan Valley.�