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A gravel pit in the Shire of Mundaring could expand to extract 950,000 tonnes of gravel per year, putting 132 trucks per day on Toodyay Road.

Traffic, bauxite concerns over huge gravel pit expansion

OUTRAGE is growing over the proposed expansion of a gravel pit off Toodyay Road that will see 950,000 tonnes of gravel extracted – and an additional 132 heavy vehicle movements per day.

At least one community group has also voiced concern the gravel pit may be converted into a bauxite mine.

Trico Resources PTY LTD and Swan Gravel PTY LTD were both granted licence amendments over the site, at 3650 (lot 556) Toodyay Road, by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on December 12.

They are now authorised to extract 950,000 tonnes of gravel from the site per annum, up from 40,000 tonnes.

According to information obtained by Echo News from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Trico Resources and Swan Gravel have the same board of directors and the same major shareholders.

The amendment allows Trico and Swan Gravel to Increase in annual gravel extraction from 47,000 tonnes to 950,000 tonnes; Increase in average gravel crushing per day from 200 tonnes to 3000-4000 tonnes; Haulage of material to and from site via larger capacity trucks and increase in daily truck movements from 20 to 132 movements to and from the site per day during peak periods.

The development application before the Shire of Mundaring has not yet been signed off and is currently out for public comment until January 2.

The original end-date of that consultation was Tuesday December 19.

The Shire has already received 60 submissions, with the Avon and Hills Mining Awareness Group leading the campaign against the expansion.

One of the major concerns over the expansion is the traffic that will be added to Toodyay Road.

Two months ago, Acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron announced $17.2 million had been allocated from the Road Trauma Trust Account to continue road safety improvements on Toodyay Road, which has had 10 fatal and 39 serious injury crashes in the past five years.

Gidgegannup resident Sue Blumer sai increasing the traffic on Toodyay Road was ridiculous.

“That’s one truck every five minutes,” she said.

“I use Toodyay Road every day and it’s gazetted as the second most dangerous road in the State.

“It’s totally unsafe, this road is not engineered to take this sort of traffic, this amount of traffic.”

Avon and Hills Mining Awareness Group vice-chairperson Sandra Harms echoed these concerns, adding the group had a genuine fear that once the gravel pit was exhausted it may be converted into a bauxite mine.

A section of the Shire of Mundaring’s public notice regarding the pit reads “Main Roads has also assessed the proposal in accordance with the higher volume of truck movements associated with the annual extraction rate of 950,000 tonnes.”

However in a statement to Echo News, A Main Roads spokeswoman said that was inaccurate.

“Main Roads has recently received referrals from the WAPC and Shire of Mundaring for an extraction rate of 950,000 tonnes per annum,” she said.

“We have requested a traffic impact assessment to support the proposal.”

The City of Swan confirmed they would be preparing a submission on the gravel pit for the Shire of Mundaring with traffic, road and site management the major concerns.

The public consultation period ends on January 2, and the Shire of Mundaring will consider the development application in February.

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story in 2013 and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

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