By Melissa Meehan
More than 150 people attended a meeting last Tuesday night, to discuss the granite quarry proposed by Hanson, one of the world’s leading heavy building materials companies, which will run between Tonimbuk Road and Garfield North Road.
The meeting saw fierce discussion over how the community should tackle the proposal, especially in relation to the signs already placed along the highway.
Lindsay McNaught said the animated discussion included points for and against the signs placed along the highway.
“The pro comments were that the signs would be informing people who might not have been aware of the issue,” Mr McNaught said.
“Anti comments were to do with increasing the difficulty for people wishing to sell their property.
“This was countered by others saying their property was unsaleable anyhow because of the threat.”
Mr McNaught said the robust discussion was indicative of the tension within the community resulting from the stress of their uncertain future.
“They (Hanson) have messed up the plans of such a large number of residents,” he said.
“Not only those who wish to sell, but businesses contemplating expansion or other changes have been put on hold.
“Residents are unlikely to commit themselves to improving their property with the Hanson threat hanging over them.”
The tensions, Mr McNaught said, were a result of the situation residents had been placed in.
“People live in Garfield North and Bunyip North because of the quiet, there is no other reason to go there,” he said.
“The proposal could not be more in conflict with values held by these people.”
He said one of the main issues of the quarry would be that, if given permission to move in, it would last for more than 50 years and would include blasting, crushing and removing an entire hill.
“At two million tonnes per year (their figure) this would involve hundreds of truck movements daily,” he said.
“All this traffic, plus other associated trucks, would be entering and exiting via Tonimbuk Road.”
He said residents should be made aware of the danger and delays that would result, not to mention the impact on local businesses – especially the Tonimbuk Equestrian Centre, that he says would have to close.
The centre brings thousands of people to the region each year.
By Melissa Meehan