NOT ON: Manager Travis Page stands at Glenwood Tourist Park is against the proposed asphalt plant which would be situated above the creek.
NOT ON: Manager Travis Page stands at Glenwood Tourist Park is against the proposed asphalt plant which would be situated above the creek. Tim Jarrett

Residents fearful of plant's 'toxic fumes'

IT'S not the 20-metre high mixing tower that sparked opposition to a proposed asphalt plant, it's the "toxic fumes".

At a deputation before Clarence Valley Council, Peter Hunter outlined the serious concerns he had for the health of community members if councillors waved through a development application for an asphalt plant at the end of Tyson St, South Grafton.

The plant, which would produce between 30,000 to 100,000 tonnes of asphalt per year, was opposed by Mr Hunter who said chemicals and dust with high concentrations of silica would be blown onto homes and into Musk Valley Creek which ran alongside the site.

However the representative for applicant Colas NSW, Shaun Lawer of GHD, said the organisation had undergone an extensive process to ensure the project's safety and would employ between five and 15 people during construction and up to 22 people during operation.

Mr Lawer outlined how the plant would mitigate risks associated with spreading of dust and generation of fumes and said they would ensure all loads were covered and the heating of the asphalt would be closely monitored to limit the creation of fumes through overheating.

"There is also potential for watering systems to be used during unloading of material to limit that dust," he said.

After a question by Cr Debrah Novak it was noted by Mr Lawer that there was no specific condition that required the company to use watering systems but it "was part of our proposed operation".

Glenwood Tourist Park is located directly opposite the site and park manager Travis Page said he had real concerns about the run off, particularly after big rains.

"All the contaminants and everything that has come out is going to be picked up off the ground here and swept into the creek," Mr Page said

Those concerns were echoed by resident Jeremy Hunter who said just because it was an industrial zone did not mean that any industrial development should be approved.

He questioned why council would fund the regeneration of the area then allow the asphalt plant, especially given past contamination of the creek that was caused by an old abattoir.

"Musk Valley Creek has never been more clean and beautiful than it is now and council helped to regenerate that, because the council funded the planting of trees along there," Mr Hunter said.

"The creek flows directly into the Clarence River - why would we risk polluting it?"

Voting in favour of the proposal, Cr Richie Williamson said as the site was zoned industrial it was generally where they wanted these types of developments to go. Cr Andrew Baker said zoning should be an alert to people that there was a potential for industrial activity.

Cr Baker also raised concerns over truck movements at night and wanted to ensure that all movements would operate through an alternative access which had not previously been a condition of approval.

Crs Baker, Williamson and Mayor Jim Simmons voted in favour of the proposal and Cr Novak, against. The application will be considered at the the full council meeting on Tuesday, July 23.