Bon Accord residents dig in over ‘super pit’

By Geoff Vivian

MANYPEAKS farmer Gary Howie said he was disturbed by the number of negative reactions to his plans to extract gravel from his property at Bon Accord Road in Lower King.

Mr Howie said he intended to build a house and establish a garden and orchard on the block but first had to remove the hard surface rock.

“In its present state, it’s near impossible with my ordinary farm machinery to work it,” he said.

“It will only be getting dug four to five hundred millimetres deep to get the rock out and the top soil will be going back.

Mr Howie said he would only be digging in two to three hectare sections at a time and then have the area back into pasture within a year.

He said the couple living next door to his proposed gravel pit had written a letter of support to council even though their house was just 200 metres from where bulldozers would be operating.

Many of the neighbouring property owners and the Lower King and Bayonet Head Progress Association have writ- ten letters of objection to Mr Howie’s proposal.

There are several sand or gravel pits operating in the neighbourhood at pre- sent, and Bon Accord Road residents say they are concerned about the proposal on environmental and safety grounds. Kat Bradford, who lives almost opposite Mr Howie’s block said she had a young family who had recently moved there because they wanted a rural lifestyle.

Ms Bradford said she was concerned about the effect dust would have on her family’s health.

She said her two children attended Great Southern Grammar, but it was not safe for them to ride their bikes to school.

Donald Main, who lives directly opposite Mr Howie’s block, said the noise from the quarry would be “indescribable” and dust and vibrations would be a major problem for him.

“Why would you introduce a quarry into an area which everyone acknowledges is becoming subdivided into dense residential land?”

He said the City of Albany was doing a poor job of policing existing quarry operators’ activities.

“They do an inspection once a year and they refuse to limit the number of trucks,” he said.

“In wet weather, I’ve actually been forced into a ditch.

“There used to be a lot of people who walk up here, kids on bicycles or on horses or with dogs – they’ve all disappeared.”
The City of Albany was contacted for comment on this.

Mr Howie said his land was zoned “agricultural” and he had entered into an agreement with Palmer Earthmoving to remove the rock on his property.

He said he was impressed with the way owner David Palmer had replaced the topsoil on his own property at a separate location to the proposed gravel-pit.

“He’s mined the whole farm and got the gravel out and the end result is magnificent,” Mr Howie said.

Mr Howie’s application for an extractive industry license was open for public comment for a six-week period ending yesterday. A City of Albany spokes- person said councillors would consider the matters raised in the submissions and deal with them as part of the official determination process.

Palmer Earthmoving has been approached for comment.