Confident on Barnett

SWAN Valley and surrounding residents� concerns over potential scarring of the Darling Scarp will go straight to the Premier, according to Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban.

Colin Barnett visited the Hanson�s Red Hill quarry in January, just one day before an Aboriginal heritage site was delisted from the State register, allowing further extension of the quarry.

Mr Barnett had intended to visit the sacred Owl Stone as part of his trip but had to view it from a distance due to time constraints.

Mr Alban said he was confident Mr Barnett would hear the concerns of residents.

�Following the visit from the Premier, I am satisfied that Hanson are acutely aware of their responsibilities, both to protecting the heritage site of Owl Stone and to managing the visual amenity of the area, as part of their social licence to operate,� he said.

�With the Swan Valley being a significant tourism destination, I am deeply concerned with the potential damage to the vistas of the scarp from the Valley and was pleased that the Premier was of the same opinion, understanding the intrinsic value of the scenery afforded to the Valley.

�It would be deeply troubling should our needs for infrastructure affect such a prized destination more than is absolutely essential.�

Information provided to Mr Alban from Hanson suggests 30m of quarry could be visible of the north-face cutting of the expanded footprint. But Swan Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association president Jeff Williams said the ridge of the Darling Scarp would be reduced by at least 60m.

�The resultant scar will be large and will be viewable all the way to Alexander Drive,� he said.

�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 the visual pollution of the quarry.�

Mr Williams said the screening height would need to be greater than 60m in an area where the water table will be affected by quarrying.

Last week, quarry manager John Symonds told The Advocate he was finalising reports with the Environmental Protection Authority.