Ashley Robinson OAM

Monday, February 12

Great afternoon yesterday listening to passionate people expressing their fears about the potential impact of proposed increases to tonnage from the Hanson quarry outside Glass House.

It’s clear – and becoming clearer across the region – that the current Sunshine Coast Council just hasn’t got its communication with residents right.

Hanson operates the quarry under conditions of approval, the terms of which it must abide by. Whether those conditions are being met and are adequate to allay the health and safety concerns of residents will be a matter for the new council to determine.

Certainly that needs to be done in advance of further consideration of the application to extend its operation. I’d also like to understand where the money paid by Hanson to maintain haulage routes has been spent and if it’s enough for the purpose.

What is also certain is that material to supply the continued expansion of road infrastructure and construction to cater for what is a fast-growing region, has to come from somewhere.

What can’t be tolerated by any future council I lead is the action of the current regime to create an unloved playing field for extractive industries.

The Hinterland Quarry Action Group asked uncomfortable questions of mayoral candidate and current Division 8 Councillor Jason O’Pray about why he had supported the cynical shift of council’s own quarries from requiring Impact Assessable Approval under the Planning Scheme (the highest level of protection) for any change to their operation to Community Facilities which have the lowest level of planning scheme protection.

That’s the sort of stuff no community should accept from their local authority.

IT WAS great to catch up last week with fellow Nambour High School old boy Ross Boyle who has successfully transformed his family’s 100-year plus cane farms into the hugely popular Rosemount Turf.

Ross, Lynelle and their extended family have a deep emotional connection to where generations of Boyles have lived and raised their families.

I’m a listener and it was fascinating hearing Ross explain how the turf business operates and to get his perspective on the impact of Sunshine Coast Council’s Blue Heart carbon project on rural families.

The end of the sugar industry was the end of a way of life that had been the economic heartbeat of the region long before the coastal population boom took hold in the late 1970s.

But the death of cane did not drive a stake through the farming families who still own and live on properties right through the coastal floodplains.

City hall place making and vision is all very well but land tenure and the views of those families must be respected and treated with due care.

As mayor I will ensure all planning that affects pioneer families must start with open, transparent dialogue and that any path forward that may impact on them is reached through agreement.