A CONTROVERSIAL plan to open a limestone quarry near Crossley is being recommended for approval tonight despite more than 70 objections from nearby residents.
Moyne Shire Council has been flooded with concerns about groundwater and dust but planning officers are urging councillors to support a new permit that includes strict rules around operating the quarry.
Councillors will likely spend considerable time at tonight’s meeting discussing detailed reports and the site’s long history.
A permit for the quarry was first issued in 1991 but was inactive until 2009 when the owner began works at the site.
Council took the matter to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal, which found the permit had expired and ordered works to cease.
That triggered the applicant to file for a fresh permit.
Locals say the quarry puts their rural lifestyle at risk.
Dairy farmer Karrinjeet Singh-Mahil said residents were concerned it would affect groundwater and that dust had been picked up by strong winds in March and carried around the area.
The state EPA has guidelines recommending that quarries not operate within 250 metres of homes. The closest home to the Crossley site is 40 metres, however, the EPA is satisfied with the safety measures.
“It’s contentious because it’s 2013 — opening a quarry within 250 metres of a house is unacceptable,” Ms Singh-Mahil said.
“We’ve got two small children who could be breathing in that dust.”
If Moyne Shire passes the motion, it will be on the condition that the quarry operates only on weekdays between 8am and 5pm and carries out annual noise testing.
In a submission to council, quarry applicant Barrie Gibson said bore water would be sprayed on the site to stop limestone dust potentially becoming airborne.
Assurances have also been given that the quarry won’t breach groundwater. The quarry is expected to create 16 full-time jobs and will have a lifespan of up to seven years.