*Pic: Image from here The pic was taken in Westerway last week ...
First published May 16
Do you enjoy a drive to Mt Field or the South West or perhaps you enjoy fly fishing in the Tyenna River? If so, I’m sure you are aware of the condition of the underfunded section of road from Maydena to Westerway.
Now you will have to deal with the recently approved 80+ year life span Jenkins Limestone quarry, just 1.8kms west of Maydena, that will be predominantly using Gordon River Rd as a supply route, with the development proposal stating up to 60 truck movements a day (“unlikely to exceed 60”).
The development proposal was released to the public over the Xmas period 2016/17 when people would have had limited time and awareness to write a submission in the short timeframe given. Also unbelievably, most Derwent Valley councillors were unaware of the development 10 days before they had to vote on it, having then to read 400+ pages of a development proposal.
The Tyenna Valley contains a number of outstanding natural assets that attract both local residents and visitors from afar. These include the Mt Field and the South West National Park, Styx forest World Heritage area, the newly opened Maydena Bike Park as well as many caves, rivers and streams, all of which are growing our tourism.
Despite the large recreational visitation, state government and some councillors do not see a problem with increasing heavy vehicle traffic from new developments along the same road that the visitors and residents use.
Gordon River Road between Westerway and Maydena is a windy and narrow road, with no shoulders to enable car drivers to give more room for approaching trucks. The road is completely unsuitable for trucks, yet no traffic assessment was undertaken from Maydena to Westerway for the quarry development proposal.
Let it be said that our argument is not with the current truck drivers, who are mostly highly skilled and professional, it’s about the suitability of the road. The quarry proponents will at times be using the Styx Rd to Lonnavale and the Florentine Rd to Wayatinah, so why then hasn’t the Karanja bypass not been utilised to take pressure off the underfunded Gordon River Rd which is the main supply route for the quarry heavy haulage trucks.
Governments these days are very eager to approve anything and everything without proper consultation or studies. This isn’t about anti-development, it’s about forward thinking. We don’t want to see deaths on our roads before someone acts. The region is also already an animal road kill hotspot. With the quarry permit allowing truck movements from 7am-7pm, 6 days a week, we can expect to be seeing even more carnage and therefore more potential traffic hazards.
A growing number of locals and regular visitors are concerned about the increased heavy haulage truck movements that will be driving through the Tyenna Valley, in particular, the stretch between Maydena to Westerway, the latter of which has a school, with narrow roads and no footpaths, posing a real hazard for our children.
In response to this, local residents have started a Facebook page “Tyenna Valley Traffic Concerns”. Please like, comment and share it around as we need someone to take notice before we have deaths on the road.
Here’s also some other useful reference links:
Derwent Valley Council meeting minutes the night of the vote for the proposal, highlighting the volume of concerns from residents and how the council voted.
Jenkins Limestone Quarry Development proposal
WIN news report on local traffic issues.
*Andrew Kellett and Bert Lawatsch: We are both long term residents of the Derwent Valley, who enjoy what the region has to offer such as fishing, bushwalking, photography and the tranquil setting. We have major concerns about the government’s approval processes and its effect on our community. Our region is experiencing major growth in tourism and we feel that the government is lacking in foresight by approving developments such as the Maydena limestone quarry, which has the potential of putting an 60+ extra trucks on our roads per day. Our vision is to support and promote sustainable tourism related activities rather than inappropriate industries such as quarries.
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