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Businesses crushed by quarry fight

Quarry owners Ray and Wendy Sandercock with Tweed Shire Council mayor Barry Longland.
Quarry owners Ray and Wendy Sandercock with Tweed Shire Council mayor Barry Longland. contributed

THE closure of a 60-year-old Murwillumbah quarry could have a serious impact on a range of local businesses and may have statewide implications, it has been claimed.

Sandercocks Quarry, located on Harry's Rd, Boat Harbour, shut down on June 30 after a neighbour took "noise, air and water" complaints against it to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The court found against the complainant's bid for "the temporary or permanent closure of the quarry".

But friend and local earthmover Neil Baker said after the complainant indicated they would appeal the decision, the Sandercocks elected to shut down their business due to the prohibitive cost of further legal battles.

It is believed to be the first time the Protection of the Environment Act has been used in this way by an individual and it has raised concerns that it has set a dangerous precedent.

"This decision could close every quarry in NSW," Cr Longland said.

Mr Baker said the Sandercocks had spent $140,000 in court defending themselves "yet the relevant government department did not issue any summons, did not take action nor have representation".

"You would expect if there was any problems with pollution of any kind the relevant State Government department would have been involved under state law."

Mr Baker said it appeared anyone could take a business to court for "pollution".

Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke said the quarry closure would have a major impact on a whole range of local businesses from earthmovers to plumbers, mechanics, farmers and haulage truck operators.

Topics:  business, land and environment court, murwillumbah quarry, tweed


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