20mil homes not enough: Need for sand mine questioned
SERIOUS concerns have been raised about the need for a proposed 105ha sand mine at Forest Glen.
The Daily can reveal figures supplied by the State Government show there is currently enough designated sand resources in the region to construct about 20 million new homes.
But developer Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd and the State Government have both argued there is a desperate need for more sand in the region to supply housing and major infrastructure.
A Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesman said construction of an "average Queensland house" could use up to 10 tonnes of sand, including concrete, top dressing and other materials.
Figures from the Department show there are currently four sand key resource areas containing nearly 200 million tonnes on the Coast.
They are: Meridan Plains (100 million tonnes of sand), Maroochy North Bli Bli (43 million tonnes), Maroochy North Coolum (43.4 million tonnes) and Glenview (*11 million tonnes, estimated in 2004, but significant extract- ion has occurred since then).
Eudlo Creek Neighbours Inc spokesman Mike Perritt, along with more than 250 other residents, has joined the Sunshine Coast Council in fighting an appeal lodged by Maroochydore Sands against the council's refusal of the sand mine proposal last October.
Mr Perritt said the community saw no need for the 105ha site to be mined, or designated as a key resource area for the future.
The State Government is continuing with a proposed KRA designation of the site, despite an ongoing Planning and Environment Court case.
"We believe there are sufficient resources on the Sunshine Coast here for the next 70-90 years, as evidenced by Meridan Plains, which is a significant resource areas," Mr Perritt said.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said testing carried out by the developer's consultants had shown the site to be of "regional significance".
He cited a scarcity of on-shore sand resources and increasing land use pressures as reasons why the resource had to be protected for future infrastructure, while a spokeswoman said the Forest Glen site may be the last of State significance on the Coast.
But Mr Perritt suggested the Forest Glen couldn't be considered a significant asset as it was unclear the extent of the assets under the ground.
The Department spokesman said sand was also used to build roads, high-strength concrete in high-rise buildings, long-span bridges, water pipelines and concrete railway sleepers.
Mr Perritt said there was enough sand in "low-to-negative" risk sites without using the Forest Glen site, which he said would pose a risk to homes, schools and the environ- ment.
He questioned why the Horton Park Golf Course was relocated entirely within the Maroochy North Bli Bli key resource area, as the community now fought to protect the Forest Glen site.
Buderim MP Steve Dickson vowed to call in the development if in a position of power post-election, as the KRA designation during a legal case "doesn't make any sense".
Maroochydore Sands director Michael Mullins did not comment.