Group of citizens raising concerns about proposed Sancrox Quarry expansion impact

Community push: Frank Dennis drops information in a letterbox urging people to lodge submissions about the Sancrox Quarry expansion proposal.

Community push: Frank Dennis drops information in a letterbox urging people to lodge submissions about the Sancrox Quarry expansion proposal.

The Sancrox Quarry expansion would impact the environment and many residents, concerned citizens say.

A group of concerned citizens is encouraging the wider community to make submissions about the proposed quarry expansion.

They are dropping information in letterboxes around Port Macquarie to raise awareness about the proposal and urge people to make submissions.

The group wants the community to know about proposal's impact on the environment and residents.

Hanson Construction Materials proposes to extend the life of the Sancrox Quarry to 30 years and expand the area of extraction to the west of the existing pit.

There would also be a concrete batching plant, asphalt production plant and concrete recycling facility.

The spokesperson for the group of concerned citizens, Les Mitchell, said the expansion would clear 43 hectares of native forest.

"If this 43 hectares is lost, it will take at least 10 years for the trees planted to provide koala food as an offset," he said.

"We are concerned at this time of massive fires which have burnt out a huge amount of koala habitat, the retention of areas like this is critical."

Mr Mitchell said the site had suitable habitat for 27 threatened species of birds, mammals and plants and seven species of threatened insect-eating bats were recorded onsite.

Hanson engaged an independent consultant to prepare a Biodiversity Assessment Report on the proposed site as part of the Environmental Impact Statement.

A spokesperson for Hanson said following this assessment, despite comprehensive searches for koalas, no direct evidence (via sightings or aural recognition of male calls) of this species was recorded on the site.

"While indirect evidence of koala activity was recorded in the form of some old, unconfirmed tree-trunk scratches and scats collected at one of the plots, the results of the assessment indicate that koala activity on the site is low."

The proposed vegetation clearing will require offsets as detailed in the Biodiversity Assessment Report.

"Hanson has set aside part of the land as a proposed offset site," the spokesperson said.

"If further offsets are required these will be sought from other suitable offset sites."

The application is with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment as a state significant development.

December 11 is the deadline to make submissions about the proposed project on exhibition through the department's website.

Mr Mitchell said the group would like Hanson to review the current quarry and its supply capabilities, and reconsider the need for the quarry expansion.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, which acknowledges the potential strong economic development benefits likely to flow from a reasonable quarry expansion, will lodge a submission of concerns with the department in response to community concerns.

The council will write to inform MPs Leslie Williams and Melinda Pavey, as well as Planning Minister Rob Stokes, about its submission and advise of community concerns with multiple aspects of the proposed project.

The council will request their support in persuading the Department of Planning to put the project on hold pending further detailed analysis and public scrutiny.