'Reprehensible': Outrage over sand mine interference
RESIDENTS are rejoicing that State Government plans have been put on hold to declare a a key sand resource area over a parcel of land that is the subject of a Planning and Environment Court appeal, but they are still far from happy.
Planning Minister Jackie Trad late Friday stalled the process while the court appeal by Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd proceeds against a Sunshine Coast Council decision not to approve the development.
The council is defending its decision backed by the Stop the Maroochy Sand Mine group, a residents' organisation formed after plans were first revealed for the mine located across the road from a residential estate and 70m from where a new school has been approved at Forest Glen.
The Sunshine Coast Daily has sought comment from Michael Mullins of Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd but he has failed to respond.
Resident group spokesman Michael Perritt said the the site should never have gone for assessment.
While pleased with the Deputy Premier's decision on Friday he said the government had failed to sense the hurt and anguish caused to what is a strongly-committed community.
"We don't see this as the end from the state government's point of view," Mr Perrittt said.
"An assessment appears inevitable unless it can prove it is not a key resource area."
That is possible he believes given the site represents just 2.4% of recognised key resource sites in the Sunshine Coast region.
"It takes the weight off though while we fight a significant court case," Mr Perritt said.
"The move to conduct a Key Resource Area assessment in the middle of a court case was reprehensible.
"It has caused a lot of stress and anguish for which the government should take responsibility."
He said he was also gobsmacked at the way Sunshine Coast Council's planning department was able to recommend the sand mine for approval when the council's legal department has found significant arguments against approval.
And he said the mayor Mark Jamieson appeared to have not backed down a millimetre from his position of support for the proposal despite the position of the legal department, his councillors and the community.
Fighting the project has already cost residents $60,000 with families pledging everything from $10 a month through to $200 to $300 putting pressure.
"It blows me away," Mr Perritt said. "Even those in difficult circumstance want to help."
Member for Buderim Steve Dickson said he hoped to speak on the issue in Parliament this week.