My family and I have lived in Rowville, Wellington Village Estate since 2001.
Over many years, we have experienced hundreds of what we thought we earth tremors or mini earth quakes, which shook our home violently but recently, the frequency and intensity has increased. We eventually realised that the earth tremors were as a result of blasting within the nearby Hanson Lysterfield Quarry. I now understand that they have lodged an expansion plan, bringing it closer to dwellings. I ask at what stage is the expansion plan? What level of community consultation has occurred or is planned, because I personally do not recall any? Is there an Environmental Effects Statement (EES), outlining the proposals and its compliance with legislation? I am extremely concerned for the health and safety of my family and the local community neighbourhood and the irreversible damage the weekly blasts are having on my property.
With regards to the current quarry operations, can you please explain what the current legislation / approved planning permit/ industry best practice allows with respect to the buffer zone between the edge of the quarry pit/face/blasting location relative to the closest residential property boundary. It appears one property at Somerset Court is located some 450m metres from edge of quarry pit. I have attached photos of cracking in my garage.
What is the current legislation/approved planning permit/ industry best practice with respect to blasting frequency, limits and intensities? Are blasting records being collated, and if so by whom? I presume the testing is being managed by a regulatory body to ensure authenticity and accuracy and question whether any testing been undertaken outside quarry boundaries to establish the intensities within the community.
I am prepared to have an independent vibration monitoring station established at my property at Hanson’s cost.
Furthermore, can you please confirm the permitted working hours/operating hours of the quarry, as we can clearly hear the quarry operating, crushing etc, well into the night. Moreover, in the early hours of the morning, we can often hear trucks along Wellington Road, using air brakes etc.
Another major concern is the exposure to silica dust, the adverse health effects and the management of the dust. If there is monitoring who is doing it, Hanson’s, or an independent Government authority/laboratory? Are these test results available to the public?
I am not advocating for the closure of the quarry, but rather a sustainable solution whereby measures are in place to manage the impacts of the quarry on the local community, by;
· not expanding,
· maintaining as a minimum the current buffer zones; and taking steps to increase the buffer zones;
· reducing the intensities of the blasts for rock extraction;
· engaging an independent consultant to monitor/collate/report/publish dust monitoring results – a process managed by a statutory authority (EPA ?)
· engaging an independent consultant to monitor/collate/report/publish vibration results to be managed by a statutory authority (EPA ?), perhaps establish permanent vibration testing sites within the local residential estate.
I have cast the net wide to ensure that this appeal is not dismissed, as statutory bodies/authorities have a legal and moral obligation and duty of care to ensure the health and well-being of the Rowville community and the safety of their greatest asset – their home.
Peter Bernardo, Bernardo Family