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‘Accidental highway’ fear

CONCERNED: School P&C secretary Shea Brunt and David Pass at Bobs Farm community hall. Picture: Dean OslandNELSON Bay Road will become an “accidental highway”.

That’s the fear of Bobs Farm residents after the Newcastle Herald reported on Wednesday Sydney-based Ammos Resource plans to mine 10 million tonnes of sand on the site of a former fig farm in the Port Stephens suburb. It has a population 500.

The development worth “hundreds of millions” of dollars is still in its initial planning phase. It would see 750,000 tonnes of sand removed from the site off Nelson Bay Road every year, a total of about 200 truck movements every day.

If approved, it would sit to the north of the Mackas Sand mine – part owned by Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie – which had its access to Nelson Bay Road approved last year. It has approval for 16-truck movements an hour between 7am and 10pm – or more than 250 truck movements an hour in peak times.

As Nelson Bay Road resident David Pass explains: “It’s not going to be fun to drive on.”

“It’s already difficult to get out of the driveway now, add a couple of 100 trucks and it’s going to add more pressure on with the existing trucks that use the road.”

Mr Pass, who like many other residents heard about the mine proposal for the first time at a meeting on Tuesday night, joined other residents back at the Bobs Farm community hall on Thursday afternoon to discuss how to respond.

The hall sits next to Bobs Farm Primary School – enrolment 29 – a focal point of the community.

The school sits on Marsh Road – close to the proposed exit of the mine. Mr Pass said one of the main concerns was what the mine would mean for the school’s future.

“If people get the idea that there are trucks constantly coming back and forth you might get people pulling their kids out, it would be terrible if it was the end of the school,” he said.

The development is being handled by Raymond Terrace-based company Tattersal Lander. On Tuesday the company’s director, Bob Lander, assured residents it was not trying to railroad them.

He said the company was still in the process of responding to Department of Planning requests for information and an environmental impact statement “won’t be lodged before Christmas”.

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