Despite objections from Councillors Sarah Lukeman and Sue George at Monday night’s meeting, Singleton Council supported the finalisation of a planning proposal that would see a new residential subdivision established in close proximity to Rix’s Creek mine.
The site adjoins the northern boundary of the Pinnacle Estate and west of the site is the Great Northern Railway line and Rix’s Creek mine land. Cr Lukeman, who voted against furthering the proposal, says it’s not a strategically good move to have residential zoning impacted by the mine. “We are just creating a problem for the future,” she says.
While Cr Val Scott suggested putting in place a barrier to block excessive noise. And, warned that the decision could “open a can of worms”. Cr George says she has concerns about the noise and dust; questioning the logic behind the proposal. “Why do we need to build houses 400m from an active coal mine?”
The process to rezone the rural land located at 349 Bridgman Road began at a meeting on May 6, 2013 but it was not ready for public exhibition until earlier this year. This period extended from February 6 to March 9 and received objections from the NSW Division of Resources and Geoscience and the Bloomfield Group (Rix’s Creek), regarding the operations impacts from the open cut mine. These objections were later withdrawn after consultations between the relevant parties resulted in the area bordering the mine being zoned as R5 large lot residential.
The large minimum lot size of one hectare would minimise the number that could potentially be affected by impacts and provide for housing on those lost to be further away from the mine.
However, the letter in which the Bloomfield Group officially withdraw their objection clearly states noise will still be an issue. “The environmental studies undertaken, as part of the Rix’s Creek Continuation Project, have shown any impact requiring acquisition or mitigation is contained within mine owned land west of the Main Northern Rail line,” it states.
“However, experience has shown some persons newly moving into the areas around the mine do raise objections to the mines noise levels when the mine is operating within its lincese and consent limit.”
This area is described as a “very complex noise environment”.