UPDATE 6PM: Buderim State MP Steve Dickson says he has organised an urgent meeting with Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham next week in light of the news the Department of Natural Resource and Mines will push for a controversial Forest Glen sand mine site to become a state Key Resource Area.
Mr Dickson said he was unimpressed by the move, given the level of community opposition to the project, and questioned what had driven the push to make the site a KRA.
He was also highly critical of the timing, given the legal proceedings about to begin in the Planning and Environment Court after the Sunshine Coast Council's refusal of the sand mine was appealed by proponents Maroochydore Sands.
"Is this retrospective legislation?" Mr Dickson asked.
ONLY weeks after it was rejected by the Sunshine Coast Council the State Government looks to be paving the way for a sand mine to be developed in Forest Glen.
An appeal lodged by developer Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd against the council's refusal is due to come before the Planning and Environment Court in the next few months but the State Department of Natural Resources and Mines has potentially helped usher in a sand mine on the site regardless of the court's decision.
The Geological Survey of Queensland has undertaken an assessment of the 105ha site that sits alongside Malones Rd, Eudlo Flats Rd and Old Maroochydore Rd and intends to make it a state significant extractive resource or Key Resource Area, amending the State Planning Policy.
KRA status does not guarantee approval of an extractive industry and does not affect the council's status as development assessment manager, but "aims to maintain the long-term availability of extractive resources by protecting these important resources from encroachment by incompatible land uses".
For about two years members of the Forest Glen community have been fighting against the proposal, concerned about potential health risks, environmental risks, and traffic and flooding impacts.
In a marathon council meeting last month the community prevailed, only for Maroochydore Sands to lodge an appeal days later, with 266 community members going in as co-respondents alongside the council on the matter.
Eudlo Creek Neighbours Inc spokesman Mike Perritt was today concerned about the perceived intent of the State Government and the Department in its move to have the site deemed a KRA.
The timing of the proposal was also of concern given the court case was yet to begin and Mr Perritt said the recent proposal "should be laid aside until the appeal, about to commence at the Queensland Planning and Environment Court (QPEC), has finished its investigation of the known facts and a decision made based upon those facts under State Laws and Regulations".
The community has until February 10, 2017, to lodge formal submissions on the Department's proposal and a community meeting has been scheduled next Wednesday in Maroochydore.
Submissions can be made to: GSQ_ResourcePlanning@dnrm.qld.gov.au
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