Saving Bentley

Forwarded from Beyond Bentley – Our Sustainable Future for your information and action.

Dear Friends of Bentley, We know that this is a difficult time to call upon you to help us once again to save Bentley from industrialisation but we have no choice as Richmond Valley Council has decided to put the Development Application for the Bentley MEGA quarry on Public Exhibition during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.  You can find the DA at this link bentley-quarry-1465-bentley-road-bentley/
Here are just a few facts from the DA about this massive development, so huge that it is classified as a ‘Regionally Significant Development’ and will need to go to the ‘Joint Regional Planning Panel’ for final determination: 300,000 tonnes per year will be extracted for 30 years – it will be THE SIZE OF 12 FOOTBALL FIELDS! It will be as deep as a 10-STORY BUILDING  The quarry will operate from 7am – 6pm weekdays and 7 am – 2pm Saturday for 30 years There will be rock CRUSHING & BLASTING (Noise! Vibration! Dust!) 140 TRUCK (+DOG-TRAILER) MOVEMENTS PER DAY ALONG LISMORE to KYOGLE ROAD  = 1 truck every 4 minutes at the quarry entrance onto Bentley Road (based on a 10-hour working day)  60% will travel east along Bentley Rd to Lismore ie 1 truck every 7 min.  30% will travel along Naughton’s Gap Road (currently closed for the foreseeable future so will use Manifold Road) ie 1 truck every 14 min 10% will travel west to Kyogle ie 1 truck every 40 min. Here are just some of the many threats to our local community and to those who travel along the Lismore to Kyogle Road or along  surrounding roads, such as Manifold Road and Naughtons Gap Road (currently closed so all traffic is going along Manifold Road): Our peaceful rural Bentley valley will become an ugly, noisy INDUSTRIAL landscape! Together we saved it from invasion by the CSG industry  in 2014 – the quarry site is just opposite the famous Gate A Bentley Blockade site on the Lismore to Kyogle Road (AKA Bentley Rd)  There will be a greatly increased risk of a serious road accident involving a car or a school bus – the DA used traffic data from 2014 to assess the traffic risk – but Graham’s Quarry opened at Cedar Point in 2016 so the volume of heavy traffic is now much greater than assessed. Also, there are 2 or 3 housing developments currently in the planning stage for Kyogle, so the volume of traffic will continue to increase along the Lismore to Kyogle Road. There will be even more potholes along the already dangerous Lismore-Kyogle road Our property values will plummet– who wants to live near a MEGA quarry? There will be irreparable loss of rural amenity- the ‘pleasantness’ of living in a rural area Local tourism developments that are already in operation and some in the planning stages, will be devastated The Casino to Bentley Rail Trail will end right near the MEGA quarry There will be irreparable damage to prime agricultural land which has been identified as Regionally Significant Farmland  – all that will be left will be a huge hole in the ground just like an open-cut coal mine We would be so very grateful if you could write a submission opposing this development. Please begin your submission “I oppose the construction of Bentley Quarry because…….” SUBMISSIONS CLOSE ON 1ST FEBRUARY and can be lodged:  by post —Locked Bag 10 CASINO  NSW  2470  by email—  by hand delivery—at  RVC’s Customer Service Centres in Casino or Evans Head by completing an on-line submission form via Council’s website SEE BELOW for some points you may like to consider when writing a submission OR for further information email us at or call us on 0402 463 443
With thanks,
Rosemary Joseph, Secretary, Beyond Bentley – Our Sustainable Future Inc

Writing a Submission – Tips and Suggestions
1. Remember to state “I oppose the construction of Bentley Quarry” at the top of the letter.
2. Begin with a short introduction about yourself and/or the organisation you represent
3. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, try to clearly address some or all of the points which affect you, concern you or are relevant to you — you do not need to address each one
4. Highlight your own perspective — just say what you believe and focus on the issues that impact you, e.g., maybe you don ’t live in Bentley but don’t want to drive through the ugly industrialised valley any more; maybe you are scared of the danger of trucks on the road
5. Try to be concise and to the point —even just a paragraph or two stating your opposition would be great.
Road and safety issues, especially along Lismore to Kyogle Road (also Manifold and Naughton’s Gap Roads). The assessed traffic risk in the DA was based on data from 2005/2006 and 2014 – Graham ’s Cedar Point quarry opened in 2016 and their gravel trucks have not been factored into the traffic data – heavy vehicle movement will therefore be much higher than stated in the DA (at Appendix K)
•  greatly increased risk of serious road accidents for all vehicles from increased truck movements – 140 truck & dog-trailer movements per day ie 14 per hour = one truck every 4 minutes at the quarry entrance onto Bentley Road (7am – 5pm)
            > 60% will travel east along Bentley Road to Lismore ie 84 truck movements = 8.4 trucks per hour = one truck every 7 minutes
            > 30% will travel along Naughton ’s Gap Road (currently closed so will go along Manifold Road) ie 42 truck movements = 4.2 trucks every hour = 1 truck every 14 minutes
            > 10% will travel west to Kyogle ie 14 truck movements = 1 truck every 40 minutes (+ Graham ’s Quarry gravel trucks that already use this road)
•  ongoing road safety issues due to greatly increased gravel truck movements with:
            > nearby Bentley Pre-school at drop-off and pick-up times
            > nearby Manifold School at drop-off and pick-up times
            > Casino Christian School on Manifold Road drop-off and pick-up times
            > various school buses pick-up and drop-off along these roads
•  increase in dangerous road conditions at the intersection of Bungabbee and Bentley Roads as it is in close proximity to the entrance to Bentley Quarry – 100 km/h speed limit and crest of hill – poor vision
•  continuous and severe damage to road surfaces in the local road network – leading to more and more dangerous potholes and deterioration of the road infrastructure
•  dust impacts from crushing and blasting could affect visibility when driving west into setting sun – visibility at sunset at certain times of the year is already dangerous

•  continuing negative impacts on mental health due to anxiety and stress associated with above
Financial, emotional, mental and social issues
•  irreparable loss of amenity due to the industrialization of Bentley Valley. Ongoing noise:
            > rock crushing and processing
            > truck movements
            > heavy machinery
            > blasting
•  irreparable visual pollution this will affect all neighbours and users of the Lismore to Kyogle Road
•  irreparable loss of social and community amenity
irreparable loss of rural amenity- the ‘pleasantness ’ of living in a rural area
•  ongoing early morning impact due to sleep disturbance from increased truck movements – no respite from activity – 7am to 6pm Monday- Friday and 7am to 2pm on Saturday
•  no regard to prior land use practices which should have precedence and new landowners should respect other people ’s right to continue to live in and enjoy the peaceful rural environment
•  ongoing negative impacts on mental health due to anxiety and stress associated with above – loss of feeling of ‘well – being ’

•  irreparable infringement upon:
            > resident ’s rights to live in and enjoy the peaceful rural environment
            > the rights and needs of individuals to a healthy and safe environment
•  irreparable reduction in property value and saleability of property

•  ongoing financial insecurity and stress/anxiety due to reduction in property values and saleability
•  loss of feeling of ‘well – being ’ – depression

            > Land use conflicts occur when one land user is perceived to infringe upon the rights, values or amenity of another
            > Existing rural residents and rural producers all have a right to continue to live in and continue to enjoy the rural environment
            > Sharing lifestyles in rural areas comes down to having informed and reasonable expectations of how land in our area is used but no-one expected a rural property that was a grazing property for decades to become an illegal quarry and then a MEGA quarry
            > What actions can we take on our own properties to minimise any impacts from the quarry? NONE! We cannot stop the noise and the visual pollution or truck movements
Effects on Agriculture and agri-tourism
•  In direct conflict with the already approved DA local development i.e. known as the Blue Fattoria project. This property is already a successful farm stay, agri- tourism, ‘paddock to plate ’ venture, agri -workshops. Presence of a unique heritage building waiting restoration. Venture estimated to provide 20 jobs

•  Irreparable negative impact on the Casino to Bentley Rail Trail development – who would want to camp and/or picnic at the main Bentley precinct with noise from gravel trucks and the visual ugliness of the open-cut quarry

•  irreparable permanent damage to prime agricultural land which has been identified as Regionally Significant Farmland – all that will be left will be a huge hole in the ground 30 meters deep (equiv to 10-story building) and 16 acres in size (equiv to 12 football fields)

•  alternatives such as regenerative farming, home-stay tourism and walking and bike trails offer more diverse opportunities for generating income locally without impacting negatively on the people who live here or the land itself. They also complement other ventures to increase biodiversity and ensure the health of the land for future generations

•  a quarry would prevent other businesses thriving – ones that are more complementary and less harmful to current and proposed land uses

•  irreparable effect on underground water from bores – water quality/quantity could be impacted if quarry depth interferes with underground water sources (the DA states that Stages 3 & 4 will intercept the groundwater)

•  ongoing dust impacts from crushing and blasting:
            > could affect photosynthesis of nearby crops
            > could affect visibility when driving west into setting sun
•  Sanitises the land for 1km radius. No development will be allowed! This comes from the requirement to blast. Quarry is extremely close to the cutting on Bentley Road. Possible future collapse.

•  In conflict with the unique history of this district – irreparable loss of community identity i.e. of peaceful farmers living in a beautiful rural valley – local people fought so hard to protect it from invasion by the CSG industry – Bentley became an international symbol of ‘democracy in action ’

•  It takes away opportunities for many more people in the valley – opportunities that enhance the quality of life of our community.

•  In direct conflict with identified tourism priorities in RVC ’s Richmond Valley Destination Management Plan 2021-2025 viz .
            > There is currently little tourism product creating a real point of difference in the Richmond Valley – there have been challenges in the past attracting accommodation investors
            > The Casino to Bentley Rail section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail as a critical catalyst project to enhance the visitor and investment appeal of Casino
            > Increasing awareness and further activating nature-based tourism experiences provided by national parks, State forests, reserves, rivers and waterways
            > Encouraging and supporting private sector investors to enhance existing and develop new tourism products is essential to attract visitors and to drive economic growth
            > Growing and procuring a vibrant calendar of authentic destinations events which showcase the area and attract visitors year round
            > Creating and promoting cultural tourism and agri-tourism experience trails to encourage visitor dispersal
            > Sustainable tourism development is important to continue to protect the Richmond Valley and its towns and villages as good places to live and visit
            > Cooperation between Council and industry stakeholders is important to drive sustainable visitor economy growth and development.
All these aims above are already being satisfied by, either by the existing venture (or in the planning stage) at the neighbouring property Blue Fattoria which is a vertically integrated farming operation with agri-tourism and Farm Stay component already operating successfully . Blue Fattoria ’s plans, estimated to provide up to 20 jobs, include:
            > Dryland rice crops as base for on-site microbrewery
            > Paddock to plate beef operation of Angus X Wagyu cattle. Processed by ‘Our Cow ’ in Casino.
            > Glamping cabins at Bungabbee are in planning stages with council
            > Access to Mucklewee Nature Reserve & Bungabbee State Forest, nature walks etc. o     > Education component for youth groups
            > Heritage farm homestead to be renovated and converted into a local museum/café o       > Bentley festival proposal has been in council for some time – already hosting
community markets and agri-based workshops
            > Also the Bentley Community has plans to develop good, environmentally friendly projects to benefit economically from Rail Trail, such as market days, workshops etc