Caption: Sharon Grant, of the Stop the Maroochy Sand Mine group, shows her appreciation to Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus, who attended a recent community meeting and vowed to do all he could to help stop the sand mine.
By Richard Bruinsma
Popular Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus has vowed to do all within his power to stop the Maroochy Sand Mine proposed at Diddillibah.
A chilly night didn’t deter around 100 concerned community members attending the meeting to discuss the issue with each other and with Senator Lazarus.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to scream from the rooftops, I’m going to make as much noise as I can,” the Senator told the meeting.
“As you are my bosses, I will go in to bat for you, I will do my best to make sure this bloody sand mine doesn’t go ahead.”
Local resident and pensioner Sandra Hersant suggested Sunshine Coast Council was being “arrogant” about the matter and failed to properly represent concerned local residents.
Caption: Maroochy Sand Mine opponent Sandra Hersant with Senator Glenn Lazarus after a community meeting at the Diddillibah Hall.
She said she had personally hand-written a two-page letter to the mayor and all councillors in November, but had only received three replies – from Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer, Cr Steve Robinson and from her local councillor Ted Hungerford, who “thanked her” for writing about the Buderim crematorium.
“I’m just furious about it; it’s just arrogant and rude, isn’t it,” she said about the scant replies.
“We’re ratepayers and I feel as though we’ve been treated very poorly by those who represent us.
“All I asked for was an acknowledgment of receipt, I didn’t even ask for an opinion. November I wrote the letter and I’m still waiting.
“A lot of us are pensioners; we shouldn’t have to fight this because it’s common sense. It shouldn’t go ahead.”
Cr Hungerford said he would relay Ms Hersant’s concerns to his fellow the councillors.
A Council spokesman later said it, “acknowledges the keen public interest in this application, particularly from residents in neighbouring areas.”
“The officers’ reports are still being prepared and they will be presented to a future council meeting to assist the councillors in making an informed decision.”
Senator Lazarus told the meeting he would contact Mayor Mark Jamieson to push the opponents’ views, as well as contacting Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
“I’m personally going to ring the mayor and I guess have a talk to him about the fact that there is a lot of people in his electorate that just don’t want this to happen,” the Senator said after the meeting.
“I would also like for him to think about the consequences of this happening; this is an area that a lot of people come to deliberately to live – it’s beautiful, it’s very natural – and having a dirty great and mine in the middle of the community just doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.”
Caption: Local radio personality Cam Young, from Sunshine 104.9 FM, speaks with Senator Glenn Lazarus about a range of local issues, including the State of Origin rugby league series.
The 105ha sand extraction site is bordered roughly by Maroochydore Road to the south, Eudlo Creek to the north, and straddles Eudlo Flats Road.
The residents’ concerns include health impacts, noise, feared unearthing of heavy metals and acid sulphate soils, flooding from earthworks, drops in home values, lack of job creation, loss of Aboriginal sites, visual pollution and a fear the spent site won’t be properly rehabilitated.
Senator Lazarus encouraged the meeting attendees to keep contacting local leaders to ensure their views are heard.
“People power does work and just making people aware of the issues does create a ripple which then turns into a tsunami,” he said.
If enough people make enough noise the governments of the day, whether it be local state or federal, have to listen to the people that are opposing this, and at the end of the day there is a lot of people here.”