Tyabb and District Ratepayers
PQCEG minutes meeting 4
3-5pm 9 May 2018
Community Centre, 21 Blacks Camp Road, Somerville
Chair: Rob Gerrand
Ian McLeod ERR
David Chalke, Tyabb Ratepayers
David Bergin, Shire
Kevin Hayes, WorkSafe
Kerren Clark (minutes)
Martin Reeves ERR, Vince Lopardi SRW, Mindy Abel, Geoff Gilbert ERR, Phillip Money EPA
3 Minutes of the previous meeting
Approved with amendments to ss4, 8 and 11.
4 Matters arising from the minutes
Alan questioned the purpose of the group meetings and stated that he believed that participants were informed but not consulted.
David C referenced a minuted comment by Rob where he asked members to focus on what can be achieved in relation to current operations. Rob said his intent was to ask people to focus on the present, where there is scope for change, rather than the past where there is not. David C asked what Rob meant by scope and he replied that some things, such as legal and regulatory requirements, are not open to consultation but a range of other considerations are.
5 Tree planting and bund works
Items 5 and 7 were joined for discussion.
Chris reported that he planted some trees on the boundary with Mindy’s property a few weeks ago. He cannot progress other planting until the bund design is settled because construction of the bund will destroy any other new plantings.
Daniel said that the bund designs had been distributed so they could be discussed at this meeting. Comments in advance of the meeting had been sought to allow the team to consider the input. The tone of some replies was disappointing but the team nonetheless reviewed the feedback.
Daniel acknowledged that the landscape plans were a little difficult to interpret. The landscaper used brown dots to indicate existing trees that are to be retained. The plan could make it look like the large green dots represented the only trees to be planted, but in fact this represented “mature trees” to be planted and he apologised for the lack of clarity. He said that in total 3960 trees and low-density plants are to be planted with a view to creating a high, dense screen.
Diane complained that the access track was within the buffer.
Ian read from ss5.4 and 5.5 of the work plan and stated that the document must be read in conjunction with the approved plan and not interpreted in isolation. He tabled a diagram that shows that the distance between the bund and the boundary varies along the southern boundary. He noted that the diagram does not show an access track but both a swale and an access track are essential to site maintenance.
Ian stated that the bund does not have to be installed until the quarry operations are within 100m of the boundary. Therefore, neither the bund installation nor tree planting are mandatory now.
Daniel explained that the primary reason to build the bund and plant ASAP was because he acknowledges that an error was made in the past when trees were cleared before the bund was installed. He said that the error caused unnecessary distress and that PQ is seeking to mitigate any future disturbance. He added that trees currently in stage two will eventually be cleared ahead of works in the area and PQ wants to install the bund and plant trees now so they have a chance to grow before that happens.
Diane asked what happens when the bund is removed and Chris said that won’t happen until operations have ceased and rehabilitation of the quarry pit is completed.
In response to feedback on designs, Daniel offered to increase the buffer by 2.5 metres from 10.0m to 12.5m to compensate for the width of the access track.
Diane asked if the access track could be located at the edge of the bund and Chris said that it could, but it would need to wind around three existing mature trees. Chris is only willing to make this amendment if residents accept that not all of the track will be adjacent to the bund. He said that he does not want to make the change on request and then face complaints later.
Alan said that Daniel’s proposal was positive, and requires consideration by residents who live on the southern boundary. There was some discussion about what materials were needed to show to those not present and it was agreed that:
- Alan would take the large landscape designs that Daniel has marked up and use these to start conversations
- Daniel will ask the landscaper for new designs, but noted that the landscaper is away for three weeks
- Residents at the meeting will ensure that residents not present will be invited to participate in discussions about Daniel’s offer.
Diane requested another tour of the area; she would co-ordinate a time with Jo Murray or Chris DeFreitas.
Ian said that he would like to see all affected neighbours consulted about the design.
Diane asked if the bund doesn’t need to be built now, could planting still occur without the bund. Daniel said that it was not practical and would result in a high percentage of works being damaged when the bund is ultimately built. He reaffirmed that PQ’s preference is to build the bund and plant all trees in a single activity to allow trees to mature before operations approach the southern boundary.
Alan commented that the sooner works start the better and he agreed with Daniel’s opinion. This will ensure there is an established vegetated tree barrier when the existing vegetation is removed in future. Rob said that it was agreed at the last meeting that a dense high barrier is a highly desirable outcome.
There was a discussion about the existing bund adjacent to Leah, Tyrone and Len’s properties. It was agreed that:
- More mature trees from the approved planting list will be planted between the swale and the boundary
- Access track in this area will reduce from 4m to 2.5m
- Assuming neighbours to the west accept the proposed modifications the bund in this section will be increased in height by around 1m and width by 2.5m, to match the same overall bund and landscape buffer width proposed for others.
6 Completion of site fencing
In response to Leah’s email, Daniel said that he had spoken with three residents who had expressed concerns that he thought could be addressed. His intent was to seek resolution, not to bully or harass. During the calls he said that, following research of other quarry sites in metro and regional Victoria, barbed wire is not essential, and the height could be reduced. He offered a choice of colour and tree planting.
Alan observed that regardless of intent, one person felt bullied. He referred to a statement from the PQV’s application to WorkSafe for time extension whereby PQV stated that it would construct a fence in compliance with WorkSafe and court-imposed requirements. Alan objected to this statement.
Ian introduced Kevin Hayes from WorkSafe. Kevin said that the onus to comply and make the site safe is on the company not on an individual like Jo who completed the form.
He said that inspectors had identified a risk and they are empowered to address the risk by immediately shutting down the site or issuing notices. In this case, two notices were issued to address the risk of unauthorised access. Leah asked if there was still a risk even though there is CCTV and Kevin confirmed that there is.
Kevin said that PQV has complied with one notice and the second is outstanding.
Kevin said that WorkSafe position is that there is usually more than one way to comply with a notice but WorkSafe offers a solution to the duty holder. PQV must do something to make the site safe and secure, before somebody is hurt. He said that an extension of time has been granted but PQV must control the risk.
In relation to consultations with neighbours, Daniel reported that all but one had objected to the proposed solution and wanted a farm-style fence. He said that, following review of fencing at other quarries, it was found that all are chain mesh, not all have barbed wire and they vary from 1.8-2.4m in height. PQV is offering to reduce the fence height to 1.8m and omit barbed wire.
Alan asked why not the farm style fence and Daniel said that is what is currently there and it had been found inadequate by WorkSafe. Alan asked if there is anything other than chainmesh and Daniel replied that he has been told that weld-mesh is suitable but to him it is more visually intrusive.
He reiterated the offer of a 1.8m fence on the boundary, without barbed wire. Diane said that the work plan required fencing of the pit and asked why that is not adequate. Daniel replied that PQV is liable for an accident anywhere on site and needs a fence on the boundary in order to meet its safety obligations, as it remains liable for areas not secured.
David C asked Kevin why the audit was conducted. Kevin said the department had recently compiled a list of priority sites with the riskiest being the priority, which included this site – because it is in a built-up area and activity has recently increased.
Ian said that it is best to have multiple layers of safety. He cited: fence, trees, bund, ledge and the first bench in the quarry as all-important safety measures. He said warning signs could also be erected.
Alan said surely the dam is the greatest risk so why can’t that risk be addressed with a fence. Daniel referred back to his comment that PQV is liable for the whole site.
Rob observed that there is an impasse: PQV is obliged to make the whole site safe and residents want to secure only areas within the site. He suggested a meeting between PQ and affected neighbours next week to discuss only this issue.
Kevin said that fencing small portions of the site would not protect the public. He said that fencing portions does not address risks posed by traffic, excavators etc.
It was agreed that a meeting should be called to discuss fencing and if no agreement is reached then the procedure as set out in the Fences Act will have to be followed.
7 Bund works
Addressed in 5.
8 Site geology
Diane referred to the article, which was circulated with the agenda at her request. It quotes Chris as saying “The site geology comprises sand and sandy clays underlain by Tertiary Age Baxter Sandstone. The quarry pit currently provides and has access to structural fill, clay liner, classified Type A and Type B fill and rock rubble. In the very near future it is anticpated the site will also be capable of supplying class 3 and 4 crushed rock, aggregates, decorative stones and a wide range of landscape products.” She wanted to know how that is consistent with statements made at the last meeting.
Daniel suggested that DEDJTR split quarry materials into four broad categories: hard rock, sand, limestone, and clay and clay shale. Each of these has sub categories. Daniel said that sandstones and mudstones are classified as clay and clay shale, and that this type of material is capable of being extracted as a “rock” or “aggregate” without processing. Bayport again acknowledged that it does not have approval to process material on site. Subsequent investigation has shown that the DEDJTR classification of quarry materials is different from that described and the exact nature if the materials to be extracted from the site should be clarified.
9 Sharing of information outside committee meetings
Daniel raised a complaint that was referred to him via Melbourne Water relating to discharge of groundwater. He considers that the information in the complaint may have been obtained as a result of information shared at last PQCEG meetingHe considered that the complaint was misinformed and premature as no groundwater has actually being discharged and Peninsula Quarries is still finalising reports before submitting an application for discharge to the EPA There was insufficient time to complete the discussion.
David C quoted the SRW minutes from 2016 (circulated with an earlier agenda) saying that the ground water is “… of low quality – 1500ppm sanity(sic) – B class. Not sitable for drinking and marginal for irrigation use”. Daniel said that testing to establish a baseline is currently underway, and that the salinity level in the water to be discharged was likely to be less than half the salinity level in Balcombe Creek, which is the receiving waterway. This is only preliminary; however, it appears any discharge would in fact be diluting the salinity level of Balcombe Creek.
Daniel then read from a copy of a recent Tyabb and District Ratepayers Group newsletter, which Daniel asserted indicated that members would object to discharge and “pollution” from the quarry. He considers this is against the spirit of engagement given reports are yet to be finalised. There was insufficient time to complete the discussion
10 Complaints and compliments register
The register will be tabled and Jo said that she is getting an A3 printer so hopefully the register will be more legible.
11 EPA works approval application
12 Community grants program
The committee agreed that Kerren should prepare an advertisement per the material in the agenda.
David B said that he has issued a request for trees to be pruned at the Jones Rd intersection to improve visibility.
Alan referred to the dust chart attached to the agenda and asked the significance of the figures/ vertical axis. Daniel said numbers represent grams per square metres. EPA guidelines allow for a maximum of 4g/sqm per month. He said that the readings are taken from three deposition gauges located around the site and added that there has never been a complaint from any other side.
Alan asked if the readings are daily and Daniel said they are monthly results. The deposition gauges are left on site permanently and the figure reported is the total dust collected for the month. Ian said that the monthly result is acceptable and demonstrates compliance. He added that PQV still has obligations to control peak events, for example on windy days.
Daniel said that on receipt of a complaint, the site is evaluated and a request is made for CCTV footage to establish the cause. If there is found to be a problem, immediate action is taken to mitigate the problem. If complaints do not come direct to PQV it is not possible to investigate and respond contemporaneously.
Ian said that the large areas that have been disturbed are being grassed and this will naturally improve dust levels. He invited residents to call him with complaints and said he would try to come out within an hour.
Leah said she wants a dust monitor on her fence. She said that she had previously refused because she did not want PQV personnel accessing her property. Daniel agreed to place a monitor adjacent to her fence.
Alan asked about trucks and Chris said that last week he barred three trucks coming to the site because of noise from exhausts. Alan was appreciative and observed that PQV’s own trucks are quiet.
Chris reported that he has also rejected six trucks for not having tarps or the tarps being non-functional. Alan said this is very positive.
Chris said he also caught one truck speeding on Pottery Road and that driver was told not to return.
Alan thanked Chris for his efforts.
With respect to monitoring Daniel offered to establish 24 hour noise monitoring on site to establish what the current operating levels
are and if this is within acceptable EPA levels.
16 General business
There was none.
17 Next meeting
The meeting closed at 5.10pm and the next meeting is scheduled for 3pm 26 June
Minutes PQCEG meeting 3
3-5pm 18 March 2018
Peninsula Quarries Pottery Road Somerville, in the main shed
Chair: Rob Gerrand
Ian McLeod ERR
David Chalke Tyabb Ratepayers
Kate Blake Somerville residents group
Dianne Anderson Tyabb residents group
Mindy Abel Tyabb residents group
David Bergin, Mornington Shire
Kerren Clark (minutes)
Martin Reeves and Geoff Gilbert ERR, Martin O'Shaughnessy EPA, Mindy Abel
3 Minutes of previous meeting
Approved with minor amendment to point 6.
Alan raised a number of matters from the previous meeting, which he did not attend, and expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of progress. Rob pointed out that the group had only recently been formed and that the members had agreed not to revisit matters closed at previous meetings. Alan continued that he wanted to discuss: fencing, SRW’s rationale and; what has been achieved to date.
4 EPA briefing
The EPA was unable to send a representative. Kerren to re-issue a request to attend.
Ian asked whether an application had been made and Daniel responded that it had not.
Members expressed confusion about the SRW licence and the EPA application, and the difference between ground water and surface water. Kerren read the definitions from the previous minutes.
Dianne asked about water being pumped from the site and Chris confirmed that surface water is currently pumped, via two dams, into Balcombe Creek. He added that this is unrelated to the discharge licence. Ian confirmed that water is currently not being discharged.
Alan asked what happens when surface and ground water mix and Daniel said the EPA application and approval process examine that issue.
Di asked whether there is currently ground water in the pit and Chris confirmed that there is not.
Alan asked about materials deeper down and Rob referred him to the first meeting when Chris described the geology. Daniel added that it is all clay, but different types at different depths. It was confirmed that PQV does not have permission for a crusher and that as the material is all clay, a crusher would not work anyway.
Alan said the regulatory framework and the current laws were frustrating.
Residents reiterated their view that the quarry is new and that the Shire had told people the site would be closing. It was noted that the issue of continuous operation of the quarry was at VCAT and cannot be resolved by this group.
Rob asked members to focus on what this group can achieve in relating to current operations.
There was some discussion about previous regulatory processes and residents do not feel they had input into the SRW approval process. The group rescinded its previous decision not to ask Vince from SRW to speak at the meeting and it was agreed that Kerren would invite him to the next meeting. Daniel said a hydro-engineer may be more appropriate and agreed to look for the name of an engineer at SRW.
There was unresolved discussion about the work plan and DEDJTR’s enforcement of its requirements. Ian explained that notices had been issued and since their issue there had been no non-compliance. He added that it’s not productive to talk about the past and suggested that meetings should be structured and stick to the agenda. He said the group should focus on issues where improvements can be made such as screening, noise, safety and dust. It was agreed that these would be standing agenda items.
5 Tree planting
David B reported that the Shire had advised that three species on the lists circulated by Dianne and Leah are environmental weeds and cannot be planted:
Southern Mahogany or Bangalay Eucalyptus botryoides
Silky Oak Grevillea robusta
Honey myrtle Melaleuca armillaris
After some discussion it was agreed that blue and manna gums are preferred as koala habitat and other large trees on the list should also be planted to promote bio-diversity. Members further agreed that no further approval was necessary and that Chris should go ahead and source small trees and large shrubs from Dianne’s list of plants that grow in heavy clay soils.
Chris will work with the landscaper to develop a planting plan and source the desired species, noting that some may not be available. He aims to start planting before the next meeting. He said the landscaper advised that weeds have to be cleared and dead wood removed before planting can commence. Dianne objected saying that dead wood is animal habitat and that blackberry spray kills everything. Chris said that most of the dead wood ifs from invasive species and asked what else can be used to kill blackberry.
He further advised that he would soon be opening a new stage, in the middle of the site, that it will have less impact on residents. Ian explained that the department has taken a decision that staging is no longer required so Chris will be able to proceed.
6 Completion of site fencing
Jo informed the group that WorkSafe had visited the site on 23 March. She said the quarry was evaluated and given a clean bill of health save for the issue of two Improvement Notices (INs). Jo tabled the report and notices, which are attached.
The notices direct PQV to install fencing on the southern and north-west boundaries within eight weeks.
Alan asked whether Jo could negotiate with WorkSafe about the location of the fence and she said she would try. Dianne asked whether WorkSafe had the work plan and Jo replied that they had requested and been provided with a copy before the inspection so she presumed it was read.
Rob asked Chris for his thoughts and he said that he thinks WorkSafe trumps other authorities so PQV is obliged to comply with the Notice.
Alan observed that Chris has no choice and reiterated his request for Jo to try and negotiate on the location. Ian said that he thinks WorkSafe acted outside its authority.
7 Bund works
As Mindy does not want a tank visible from her home, Chris is investigating new technologies and alternative designs. He will provide a progress report at the next meeting.
8 Complaints and compliments register
Jo tabled the register and members noted that it is a small font and hard to read. She agreed to provide a soft copy.
Ian said there had been dust complaints and Rob asked whether these were received on recent high-wind days. Ian said that was correct and dust sampling shows compliance over the month.
9 EPA works approval application
It was agreed that this matter was covered during item 4.
10 Community grants program
It was agreed that:
Grants should be for environmental projects
There should be one annual grant round, advertised widely
There will be no restrictions on grant amounts, other than the $5000 maximum.
Based on the above, Kerren will develop some program specifications for consideration at the next meeting.
11 Jones Road speed limit
David B reported that there has been no progress since the last meeting and reiterated that VicRoads makes the decision about the usual limit. The Shire can only lower it on application from companies like PQ for a specific purpose.
Kate said there recently had been clumps of clay on the road – she agreed to find out on what day so Jo can investigate. Jo offered to circulate the new truck requirements and advised that three trucks had recently been sent away due to non-compliance.
There was discussion about trees on private property that obscure drivers’ view when exiting Pottery Road. David B agreed to investigate whether the Shire can lop branches outside the property. There was also discussion about a mirror and stop sign and it was agreed that these measures would not improve safety.
13 General business
David C mentioned the ward meeting notice he sent to Kerren and she agreed to circulate the notice. He encouraged residents and PQV representatives to attend.
Ian congratulated PQV on its drainage efforts – he said the problems had been resolved permanently. He said the general appearance of the site was impressive and Alan said the comments were quite fair.
14 Next meeting
3pm Wednesday 9 May 2018.
Meeting closed at 5.10pm.
Complaints and compliments register
PQV truck requirements