According to figures provided by Ballina council there has been a massive over extraction over approved limits from a sand mine just off Ross Lane in Newrybar.
In early December 2016 the “No Sand Mine for Lennox” group was formed after one of its members became aware that a new 3.2 million tonne sand mine is being proposed for Newrybar Swamp Road, just off Ross Lane. That DA is expected to be lodged soon.
Immediately concerned by the sheer size of the mine and the potential impact on Ross Lane traffic as well as the environmental impacts on nearby North Creek, the group began investigating. They noted a significant increase in truck movements both east and west along Ross Lane and began to question council earlier this year regarding an existing sand mine in Newrybar Swamp Road.
After several requests, Ballina Shire Council have finally revealed that the mine is well over their approved annual extraction limits. Council also admitted that despite quarterly statements being submitted to the council clearly outlining the over extraction, council have not contacted the miners to discuss their over extraction, nor imposed any restrictions or fines.
‘This sand mine is a blight on the landscape,” says Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding. “The council has been part of a programme to promote Hinterland Way as an iconic tourist drive. One of the most beautiful flood plains in Australia is being mined and it looks terrible. There is a strong thread in all North Coast Planning documents that this type of development should occur West of the highway and not between the highway and the ocean. This is the wrong place for active large scale mines.”
“We also have environmental concerns. We would like to question whether council understands or is monitoring the impact on the very sensitive Newrybar Swamp and North Creek. The over extraction of 115,000 tonnes of material means that there has been about 115 million litres of water displaced. “ said Newrybar local resident and member of Ballina Greens Nathan Cooper.
“It appears the only protection for our environment and its residents interest is a handful of locals” said spokesperson Nathan Cooper. “I am calling on our council to do its job and protect our environment within the limits of the law. These guys set the sand mines quotas in the first place but appear to willingly ignore them.”
Based on those statements we estimate that there have been an EXTRA 18,000 truck movements east and west on Ross Lane in 2016 which equates to 62 additional truck movements per day. “No Sand Mines for Lennox is concerned with the additional trucks, “said local resident and spokesperson Amelia Hicks.
“We are being woken each day with the sound of compression braking and gear changing at 7am. Last week I was behind two trucks with dog trailers travelling up Ross Lane, two more were coming down at the same time and they had to pass a cyclist. Not only was I halted to 30km an hour, but it was just so unsafe.