By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on January 17, 2019
THE City of Albany has declined to say if it will appeal last week’s State Administrative Tribunal overruling of Albany council’s unanimous refusal of plans for a lime pit at Nullaki Peninsula.
Asked if the City would appeal the decision, Acting Mayor Greg Stocks said the City would “take some time to review the SAT’s finding and conditions imposed and will be guided by its legal counsel on this matter”.
Cr Stocks said the tribunal’s decision last Thursday came down to technicalities of interpretation, and expert advice presented by developer Graeme Robertson that issues of concern could be managed.
He said he was surprised that an extractive industry was considered consistent with the objectives and provisions of the area’s conservation zoning.
“We actively defended our position and are puzzled and bitterly disappointed we have been unsuccessful and understand the community will be too,” he said.
Mr Robertson told The Weekender the ruling was a “win-win” situation.
He said it was a win for Great Southern farmers, as the pit would provide a natural resource “saving them approximately 50 per cent on their cost of obtaining first grade agriculture lime” in the region.
And he said it was a win for the environment with a maximum of three hectares to be cleared temporarily in lieu of the 21 hectares originally recommended for approval by the City.
“As far back as 2006, I have been approached by farmers in the Great Southern who were aware of the vast lime deposits on the Nullaki and were trucking the majority of the 300,000 tonnes required annually for the area from Margaret River,” he said.
“With the increased use of superphosphate in the Great Southern, the soil acidity increases, and to balance the pH. The only remedy is the application of agricultural lime.”
Nullaki resident Angela Dickinson, who lives about 2km from the proposed extraction site, said lots of locals were “really upset” by the ruling.
She said she was concerned about the potential spread of dieback, increased traffic and noise, and threats to already threatened flora and fauna.
“People choose to live in the country to get away from noise,” Ms Dickinson said.
“[With the lime pit]… there will be 14 laden trucks per day – which is 28 truck movements back and forth each day – so that’s about three or four trucks per hour past peoples’ driveways.
“It’s highly inappropriate to be extracting from a high conservation zone.”