Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

A pleading letter to the Derwent Valley Council

*Pic: Limestone Flickr, Matthias Rosenkranz

Dear Derwent Valley Council members and staff,

Please allow me to present some pertinent facts regarding the proposed Maydena limestone quarry, scheduled to be voted on for approval or not at the 17th August 2017 DVC meeting.

We are the nearest residents to the proposed quarry, with our home being just 320 metres from the specific location of the proposed noisy machinery placement for initial quarry mining operations. As such we are liable to be seriously impacted by the quarry and request that you consider our concerns before approving the venture. The quarry proposal by Jenkins Hire P/L and Stroud P/L

http://epa.tas.gov.au/Documents/Jenkins%20Hire%20Pty%20Ltd%20&%20Stroud%20Pty%20Ltd,%20Hard%20Rock%20Quarry,%20Maydena%20-%20DPEMP.pdf blatantly contravenes the Quarry Code of Practice for sound and environmental conditions on adjoining properties, located just a few hundred metres from the operational machinery. This Code of Practise specifies limits on distances from quarry machinery to residences and sensitive use locations of:

From blasting – 1000 metres
From crusher – 750 m
From vibrating screens – 500 m
From any activity – 300 m

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the proposed quarry http://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment-site/Pages/Jenkins-Hire-Pty-Ltd-&-Stroud-Pty-Ltd,-Hard-Rock-Quarry,-Maydena.aspx with minimal restrictive conditions imposed. The EPA approval mandates no sound, dust or water quality monitoring nearby and provides for no penalties for quarry conditions non-compliance beyond the keeping of a complaints register

We acknowledge and appreciate the input, and agree with local concerned citizens who have submitted formal detailed objections to the proposed quarry on grounds of it adversely affecting local tourism and certainly leading to further road degradation, animal road kill of increasingly rare iconic native fauna, and road congestion (note – just one truck passing position in the 19 km between the outskirts of Maydena and Westerway, and increasing use of cyclists on this road accessing the Dirt Art mountain bike tracks will encourage truck drivers to cross double lines on blind corners to pass them). Roberts Rd is a potentially serious conflict between heavy trucks and Dirt Art light tourist transport and mountain bikes using the same narrow windy gravel road.

The proposal has also very minimal employment prospect potential, less than a handful, and is totally unnecessary because limestone for agricultural use is abundantly available in Tasmania at an arguably more economic price, even in the Derwent Valley, than the low grade product to be offered by the proponents of this scheme (just 75% calcium carbonate cf 97% + available elsewhere in the state). That is to say that low local freight costs will be totally offset by its low carbonate content. This is a very important point, not previously mentioned in any reports, and deserves a dedicated cost/benefit presentation to discuss the serious disadvantages of low grade limestone. Unfortunately there is no scope for that in a brief letter.

The proposed Maydena limestone quarry will have the lowest grade agricultural limestone anywhere in Australia, so far as I can determine following extensive searching. The 25% inert material will have serious implications for the acidity neutralising ability, for transport costs and for lime spreading costs. It can be calculated that the low grade will mean that users will need to have over a 100 km travel distance advantage over alternative higher grade suppliers for the Maydena product to be economic. To approve this quarry will effectively lock in Derwent Valley farmers to an inferior product for 100 years because it will be hard for any new potential supplier discovering a nearby high grade limestone supply to get a new quarry started. There are abundant reserves of high grade limestone nearby, well away from residences. It would be a pity to approve the present quarry proposal just because farmers are seriously in need of low cost agricultural lime immediately.

An additional concern is that our personal household water supply, the ANM spring, believed by geologists to originate from Pillingers Creek, will be adversely affected by a quarry. Another potential zoning conflict is that the quarry will be partially located in a Waterway Protection Area.

This letter simply explains how we are likely to be adversely impacted at our private property site, just across Gordon River Rd from the quarry, via noise and environmental matters. It also expands on some dubious claims and practices of the quarry proponents to advance the project:-

Question 1: Are we genuine neighbouring residents. The quarry proponent’s application pretended that we don’t exist, despite 24 years of residence occupancy, and presented our neighbours, 800 – 900 metres away, as the nearest residence to the quarry. The proponents have since apparently protested to the DVC that we have no legal residence status because the 1993 planning legislation forbids residence occupancy on a General Industrial site. Our land has no industrial activity, nor is any planned. The General Industrial zoning is a relic of old ANM days. The fact is though that we bought the old ANM Depot prior to the 1993 legislation and hence are legitimate residence owner/occupiers of our land. Hence any claim that we are illegal occupiers of a house on General Industrial land, is misguided.

Note that the 1993 act, SECTION 12 specifically says that nothing in the planning scheme will “(d) prevent the use of any building, or works, in the municipal area, for any purpose for which it or they were being lawfully erected, or carried out, immediately before the provision came into effect in relation to the municipal area”

In any case, should there be any minor technical legal complaint against our residence status we would in an instant apply for zone alteration to Rural Resource. The reason we have not done this already is that with imminent alterations to the State Planning Scheme, it is likely that we will be eligible for reversion to a Rural Resource zoning, at no cost, because of imminent local schedule changes. Since our occupancy predated the 1993 legislation though, (given royal ascent on 9th November, 1993,) we are legally able to have an onsite residence. Regardless of the legal status of our residence, we are eligible for sensitive use consideration under the Quarry Code of Practise guidelines, Even if our living here was technically illegal, which it is not, it wouldn’t mean we are not entitled to peace and quiet through the day. Nor is there anything anywhere in legislation to allow unlimited noise pollution in a place where residence is technically illegal but day use permitted

Question 2: What are the likely noise levels at our front door if the quarry proposal proceeds?

Answer: – The quarry proponent’s submission included a computer simulated analysis of the anticipated noise levels at various distances from the noisy operational machinery. While not acknowledging us as real neighbours, they presented graphs to indicate that, even at our residence just 320 metres away from the initial operations, the noise levels would be just 40 – 50 decibels, depending somewhat on weather conditions.

Unfortunately the simulated noise data is seriously flawed because they presented data based on the premise that the operational machinery would be located 450 metres to the south of where it will actually be. I questioned the proponents about this but so far have had no response, despite 2 Friendly Reminder emails:

Dear Dr Barnes,

Thank you via the Van Diemen consulting company for inviting contact to obtain clarification and further information about the Maydena limestone quarry proposal.

My immediate concern is about the likely noise level at our 20+ year long residence at the old ANM complex just 320 metres from the initial proposed mining location.

I note to start with that the proposal makes no mention of our house as being a long standing nearby residence. Hence using our nearest neighbour 900 metres from the initial operations as the nearest residence was a significant error. I note that the EPA sought additional information from the proponents, seeking explanation as to how noise levels at our residence might be contained to no more than 45 db. The proposed solution was essentially just proper machinery maintenance with possibly some machinery shrouding and bulldozing a physical barrier between machinery and us..

I further note that the Vipac noise level simulation assumes that the noisy machinery would be located well away from Roberts Rd (fig 4, page 245 on the PDF file page numbering) i.e. all the noise projection data is based on the machinery being approximately 450 metres to the south of where it will actually be in the phase 1 extraction operations, likely for the initial 7 – 8 years of the quarry operation.? This would mean that all the calculated noise level data in the various graphs should be moved to the left of the diagrams 450 metres, and hence the expected noise levels at our front door can be expected to be in the vicinity of 60 – 70 decibels, depending on weather conditions and drill use?

Can you please confirm my calculations, or not, provide proper scientific objective comment on likely noise levels, and provide a realistic expectation of the likely operational noise levels at our house for the next few years. Presumably as the quarry operations proceed, the noise we are subject to will increase dramatically as a rock wall is developed as the limestone is removed and noise will be reflected back to our property more and more?

It seems inconceivable to us that there are no plans for routine sound monitoring of the quarry operations anywhere nearby, and no mention of any penalty for noise emission non-compliance.

Regards,

Ivo Edwards

It might be noted that because of the logarithmic nature of the sound decibel rating, approximately each 10 decibels increase results in a doubling of perceived sound. Hence 70 decibels is approximately 6 times louder to a human observer than 45 decibels.

To the best of current knowledge, therefore, it is likely that we will be subject to a serious noise situation, unlikely to be significantly mitigated by cursory shrouding of machinery and physical barriers between us and the quarry.

We are seriously concerned by the apparent underhand and devious approaches by the quarry proponents to pretend we neighbours don’t exist and to present obviously potential noise pollution as not likely, when proponent predicted noise levels are based on machinery hundreds of metres away from the real mining zone. We are also concerned by the apparent excessively close relationship between the proponents and EPA.

This is because a D Oldmeadow from the EPA helped with the proponent’s application, certainly at least by reviewing it prior to submission. That is surely outrageously improper and unethical. i.e. the EPA assessed a submission that they themselves significantly contributed to! Sounds like Donald Trump judging a beauty competition in which he is a contestant or yet another Tasmanian example of the fox guarding the hen house?

We note from the DVC comments on the various public submissions to the proponents proposal http://www.derwentvalley.tas.gov.au that; “Due to the exemption of the development from the Attenuation Code, Council has no ability to determine whether these impacts are acceptable or otherwise. Council also has no ability to alter, modify or delete conditions imposed by the EPA.” The Council has explained that the economic viability of the venture is not its concern, that the environmental matters are totally a matter for the EPA and that all road access, safety and access issues are solely a matter for the Department of State growth. Is the DVC then just a puppet rubber stamp for approval, with no scope for imposing its own conditions on the quarry proponents on behalf of its Derwent Valley constituents on this important matter?

In summary then, we are dismayed that the DVC appears powerless to have any say on EPA and Dept State Growth contentious approval decisions regarding the quarry. Presumably though, the Council will be involved in any possible quarry condition guideline compliance disputes if they eventuate down the track?

Please reject the quarry application in its present form and location. We don’t need machinery as loud as a rock concert, about 110 dBA, just 320 metres from our front door, nearly every day and all day, nor does the nearby community who will certainly hear noise at times. We don’t need operational conditions for the quarry contravening the quarry Code of Practise and providing no penalties for non conformance transgressions of the very lenient and minimal environmental restrictions, and we don’t want more traffic problems on an already compromised road system.

We especially don’t want a dubious venture with a super low grade product jeopardising our chances of obtaining a really first rate high grade limestone supply nearby, but away from residences, caves and tourist operations.

Yours faithfully,

Ivo Edwards

*Ivo Edwards is an independent scientist and inventor from Maydena. He lives on a site zoned General Industry but has no industrial activity and plans none. He is, perversely, threatened by a potential limestone quarry next door on a site zoned Rural Resource which wants to evict him because it is illegal these days to reside in a General Industrial zone. The quarry proponents apparently want unrestricted rights to pollute his property with noise, dust and contaminated water.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Ivo Edwards

    August 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Hello Second Opinion (#20) – no – no monitoring conditions whatsoever apart from a complains register.

    It is so frustrating because no DVC meeting minutes available until after the appeal time expires and no scope for appealing the EPA approval based on lies regarding our residence status and lies about noisy machinery placement. (let alone a heap of associated matters!)

  2. Second Opinion

    August 20, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Ivo, was there any commitment to a regime of environmental monitoring being required as a condition.?
    That at the least should have been implemented.
    Clarence Council too is approving applications where residents have no real chance of influencing outcomes.
    The applicant refuses to mediate, leaving no choice but to go to an appeal; which risks an eventual approval without any conditions.
    It seems to be the method of choice. Councils are toothless.

  3. Andrew

    August 19, 2017 at 1:05 am

    They had an opportunity to stand up for the people and valley but they chose not to. What is the council for?

  4. Rom

    August 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I’ll be watching this matter around election time. Bullies get their just desserts in the end. DVC, I am a rate payer… I VOTE!! Take note, I have friends who vote as well. As for the Liberals… dead meat already,electorally speaking.

  5. Ivo Edwards

    August 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    POSTSCRIPT – from my contact at the DVC meeting last night:

    Pretty much that’s it, we lost. It appears if they knocked it back it would of cost the council heaps and there would of been the chance then that Jenkins could get it approved with no conditions. Council seemed on our side but still approved it.

  6. Curious

    August 15, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Re DPIPWE friend’s comment (#12). Reading between the lines of the edited sections of this provocative and facetious, yet disturbing post, it seems that the quarry proponents have hit rock bottom in their justification of their quarry proposal. How can they justify their actions?

    Please explain Jenkins and Stroud? – why should we believe a word you say when you won’t answer Ivo’s questions and won’t justify the quarry on reasonable value for money economic grounds?

  7. Second Opinion

    August 15, 2017 at 2:30 am

    A tyre Shredding Plant at Brighton was subject in 2016 to an expert appraisal by a Hobart Acoustical Engineer.

    This is that report: http://tinyurl.com/yc2bmts7

  8. John Kelly

    August 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Sounds bloody disgraceful Ivo the way you have been treated. I’ve been coming up your way for years as a bushwalker and hobby photographer and after looking further into the Jenkins proposal, I to have concerns at the amount of traffic that your valley is going to receive. I’m certain in saying it’s a recipe for disaster, especially with the tourist boom you are about to receive. You have my full support and I will do my best to go to the DVC meeting on Thursday night to show my support if nothing else.

  9. Richard Davis

    August 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Notwithstanding the dilemma Ivo finds himself in the proposed Maydena Limestone Quarry must be opposed on a number of grounds.

    From Westerway to Maydena is 21 kilometres of narrow winding road, the first 8ks is the main tourist route to Mt Field National Park, in recent years there have been 4 logtruck accidents on this stretch of road, 2 roll overs, 1 into the Tyenna River and 1 into a steep bank on a sharp corner.

    The road is an accident waiting to happen not only for locals but also cyclists and a number of overseas visitors many of whose driving skills are questionable.

    Most of the following 13ks to Maydena is in very poor condition, is dangerous and should be re-built.

    The proposed Maydena Dirt Art mountain bike track has the potential to give Maydena and many other businesses on the connecting road from Hobart to the bike track a major economic stimulus and potential employment opportunities.

    Based on the report this proposal has an estimated maximum 5000 vehicle movements per year, in addition there are substantial log truck movements all of which other road users have to negotiate.

    To allow this Quarry to go ahead, particularly as there is ample limestone from other sources, is pure insanity but then I forget we live in Tazzzmania!!!

  10. DPIPWE friend

    August 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Hey Ivo. Never mind – at least you have taught us all a few things about doing business in Tasmania and how not to expect to be treated fairly. It seems quite a few mistakes were made in the quarry application and approval process:

    1. Jenkins and Stroud appear … in their submission.. They have clearly just seriously annoyed nearby residents with this strategy. If they had quietly approached residents likely to be adversely affected, frankly discussed their dilemma, and offered either direct financial monetary compensation, or, if this is illegal, offered something like scholarships for grandchildren or money to maintain the heritage old ANM buildings (like the scholarship Tony Abbott received for his daughter) then that would have obviously been a better strategy.

    They would also have also been better off not revealing their stupidity in expecting to make a profit on an obvious half-baked idea trying to sell low grade limestone to savvy farmers. Next time Jenkins and Stroud how about employ someone with brains and in the know like an agricultural economist to provide advice?

    2. The EPA comes across as suspiciously likely to have been directed to approve the project by someone in the government. They … with the proponents in preparing the application, imposed hardly any sensible environmental conditions in their approval, and ensured that the project was a “Level 2” project so the Derwent Valley Council would have no scope to alter the approval conditions.

    Next time EPA, I recommend that you at least make a serious pretense of being fair by ensuring that there is no mention of your involvement via an EPA staff member being named as helping with the application, at least, and try to appear to have some ethics in the way you assess projects?

    3. DVC. You appear to have been outmaneuvered in all this and treated as idiots, what with not having any scope to alter EPA and Dept State Growth conditions. Do you have any real reason for existence if you can’t influence what goes on in your municipality? Get some backbone please and stand up for things which involve you

    4. Ivo. Stop whinging and get on with life. Ear plugs and dust masks are dirt cheap.

    (edited for anonymous observations)

  11. Peter Bright

    August 14, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Readers wanting further technical information on the characteristics of Noise are invited to visit the very informative but somewhat outdated website at http://www.quietas.net where this appears ..

    [i]”The human ear is a design masterpiece which can cope with the tiniest sound hearable (called 0 db) to that 1,000,000,000,000 greater (called the threshold of pain) .. “[/i]

    .. and where there’s also this:

    http://www.quietas.net/Page4.html

  12. Peter Bright

    August 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    “Curious” at #9 asks about Noise measurements.

    There is some general information about Noise here http://www.pebri.net/index_3.htm and here http://www.pebri.net/index_4.htm

  13. Curious

    August 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you second opinion (#4 and #8) I understand the discrepancy between your data indicating doubling of noise with a 3 decibel increase and the figure Ivo quoted, and many other people quote, of a doubling with a 10 decibel increase, has to do with actual sound readings on an instrument versus perceived sound to a human?

    Can you tell us the important answer then please? If Ivo is to be subject to 70 decibels, then how many times louder than the EPA permitted 45 decibels is that to a human observer?

  14. Second Opinion

    August 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    A quick look at Wikipedia confirms what I surmised.
    I have been able to examine the frequency spread in any field recording by defining the sample length, and employing Audacity to do a FFT.
    The range and amplitude of frequencies contained in a sample of noise is readily apparent.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Fourier_transform

  15. Emily

    August 14, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Why would you even consider a quarry in this location when it sounds as though it’s of such low grade with no lack of state supply, when you have a resident within 300m who should have the legal right to expect to live a life in peace without potential noise, dust and water pollution, when the increase of heavy haulage trucks could mean increased safety risks to road users on a stretch of road which already has its challenges and to threaten potential tourism investment in an area that is about to boom. Only one word for it…MADNESS!!

  16. Mike Adams

    August 14, 2017 at 12:54 am

    My congratulations on such a well presented and prepared case. If your council overrides you then the whole lot of the councillors should get the boot. If allowable you should ask for the justification that each of those brings to their decision.

  17. john hayward

    August 14, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Welcome to the magic world of the Tassie justice system. If you are up against a government body, or one of its mates, the game is over. Not only does evidence disappear, but also unwelcome parties.

    You may have conclusive evidence for your case, but a higher court may not be keen to embarrass the tribunal or court which found against you.

    Scream in outrage, but no one, least of all someone from the profession, will hear you. That is their special power.

    John Hayward

  18. Second Opinion

    August 14, 2017 at 12:08 am

    It is my understanding that the SPL (sound pressure level) of a source of noise, doubles, for every 3dB increase in SPL ( not 10dB )
    Industrial noise should be measured employing the dBC weighting, as opposed to the dBA commonly applied to domestic noise.
    The dBC weighting is flat to about 20Hz., which is where the noise from a quarry operation would be placed; and well below that.
    The dBA weighting rolls off below ~ 500hz., and above 5KHz.
    Someone with a better understanding, is welcome to verify this.
    The noise from rock crushing is likely to be sub-aural, and felt, rather than heard. Wind turbines have a similar problem.
    A fast Fourier transform analysis reveals the real nature of the beast.

  19. Chris

    August 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    This so called Government in the Herrbetts style is about to release forty, or is it Faulty, items in which they maintain the state as Liebrals has got to be continued after the next election, when their secret friends, the Exclusive Brothers will once again rear their ugly cash boxes and back these fruit cakes.
    Lets begin by insulting Labor.

  20. bert lawatsch

    August 13, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    dept of state growth and EPA are happy to ignore locals,ratepayers and bulldoze through their developments with no regard what so ever! not to mention impact of this development on tourism in the area, road damage (already a goat track!), pollution, noise, etc. Good on you Guy Barnett, keep trashing Tassie and our future with your yesterday thinking…

  21. Andrew

    August 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    That seems incredulous that your rights as a resident living so close has been so blatantly ignored. I smell a rat and hope the DVC can smell it to.

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