Following a meeting on 13th October with Noosa Council staff, Mayor, Councillors, community representatives and management of the quarry, we can update the following:
The quarry management have reported to –
- minimise truck movements on Saturday wherever possible.
- resolved communication issues with the school bus on Kin Kin Range.
- further reinforced the school bus times on the range being a key safety point with drivers and is strategically loading trucks to help prevent them meeting the bus during these times.
- is working with larger customers to ensure all are as strategic as possible with their requirements for each day to focus on best practice for traffic flow.
- has increased their storage capabilities at their Yandina site to cater for all required products which will allow them to strategically fill them to stem the flow of traffic from Kin Kin during identified peak times.
- will preload of an afternoon where practical to help reduce the need for early morning arrivals in Kin Kin.
- has recommended all companies using their site fit their vehicles with dash cameras to better ensure safety for all.
- has requested that all companies sending multiple vehicles to Kin Kin, space the departure time of their vehicles by 5mins to help reduce the traffic flow.
- has advised all truck companies of their internal infringement policy, including bans from the site for breaches.
Noosa Council reported they –
- have issued a breach notice on the quarry operators for breach traffic requirements.
- will continue to monitor truck movements and investigate breaches.
- have surveillance on Shepperson Rd to assist.
- have advised that the quarry approval is in place until May 2033.
Police will continue regular surveillance and all measures possible to provide safe use of the roads by all. Police and TMR will undertake combined compliance inspections of heavy haulage vehicles. Next meeting planned to also include senior TMR representative on 23 October.
Below are some updated responses from state departments in response to questions asked of our office.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT & MAIN ROADS (TMR) RESPONSES
TRAFFIC COUNTERS AND WEIGHTS OF HEAVY VEHICLES – TMR have 8 traffic counters installed from Kin Kin to Pomona. These do not weigh vehicles; however they measure axle configurations to determine different classes of vehicles as per the Austroads vehicle classifications and collect speed data for each of the classes. In addition, trucks are weighed on exit of the quarry and on receipt at destination as the client is paying per tonne and there are legislative requirements to report. TMR’s Transport Inspectors are working closely with police to conduct joint heavy vehicle enforcement and compliance activities on Kin Kin Rd. TMR will provide police with speed data from the traffic counters to assist enforcement intelligence. TMR is currently extracting and analysing the raw data, with a summary expected to be available in November 2020.
Compliant general access vehicles (including truck and dog trailer combinations frequently used by the quarry) can use QLD roads without special permits. Excess mass loads do require permits and this allows authorities to place conditions on their operations. However, TMR has not approved any vehicles above general access limits for Kin Kin Rd. Placing load restrictions on general access vehicles on Kin Kin Rd may have a negative impact on important community services, other local businesses and residents, and may result in increased volumes of other types of heavy vehicles.
BRIDGE CAPACITIES – The timber bridges on Kin Kin Rd typically cater for the general access vehicle allowable maximum mass of 42.5 tonnes. TMR is undertaking ongoing bridge assessments on Kin Kin Rd as part of its routine operations.
MODELLING – currently in progress to see at what speed any ‘swing’ in dog trailers on bends is diminished.
FIXED SPEED CAMERAS – TMR and Police work together to deliver the Camera Detected Offence Program (CDOP), which oversees site selection and deployment or installation of speed and red-light cameras on the QLD road network. Contrary to previous discussions with TMR, they have now stated that sites for installation of new fixed speed cameras are determined using a history of speed-related crashes as a primary criterion. TMR’s statement included that they have reviewed the available recorded crash history on Kin Kin Rd and it does not support the installation of fixed speed cameras at this time. There are other locations where more crashes have occurred due to motorists speeding and cameras must be prioritised to locations with the most potential to reduce road trauma. Motorist are encouraged to report any instances of unsafe driving that they witness to Policelink anytime on 131 444. Regardless of this statement, I have spoken with both the Acting Regional Director for TMR and police that there needs to be a consistent methodology to ensure that drivers are complying with the speed limits set and that they need to ensure speed limits are appropriate for safety throughout the area. In addition, that curfews should be in place during school bus times on heavy vehicles.
KIN KIN RD WORKS – Larger scale works do not currently have committed funding regardless of comments within the community. These works would encompass, as previously discussed, a continuation of the ‘newer’ works into Kin Kin of about 2.5km, with about .5km so far identified on the other side. Residents have voiced concerns that should this work occur, it would encourage more or bigger trucks. A continuation of the standard currently on the range from my understanding would not accommodate bigger trucks, and the amount of trucks, as we know, is based on contracts, and how many can be loaded within the operating hours. This needs to be calculated properly with variables including the distance travelled for reload. It is important once we have relevant information from TMR to come together so decisions are being made as a united community so I can obtain the necessary funding for TMR should that be the wishes of the community.
EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL – Additionally, TMR have investigated concerns raised about erosion on Kin Kin Rd due to vegetation work. TMR understands that these concerns are associated with recent drainage maintenance works, rather than vegetation management works. To date, the vegetation management works have only included select pruning of overhanging branches. TMR is working with Noosa Shire Council to implement several practice improvements to address this matter.
TMR CONTRACTs – Any trucks associated with Maroochydore Rd and Mons RD Interchanges Project (BHMIP) to the south have been instructed by TMR, not to operate during the school bus run times. Further, in response to a question asking if this quarry was chosen to supply this job is because they are cheaper than other quarries, TMR advises that they only specify material properties, such as the strength of the stone, that must be met and not where a contractor may source the material from. Sourcing of construction materials is a commercial decision for the construction contractors and as such TMR does not have the necessary information to answer this question. It is estimated that material will be sourced from the quarry for this project over the next approximately 18 months (weather and construction conditions permitting), outside of school bus times, to meet the project’s needs.
STAGE D OF COOROY – CURRA BYPASS – TMR can confirm that this project has not sourced any materials from this quarry for its early works completed to date, and there is currently no proposal from the contractors to utilise the quarry for the construction works. However, as advised previously, sourcing of construction materials is a commercial decision for the construction contractors and as such TMR is unable to preclude the construction contractors sourcing material from the quarry.
VOLUME OF WORK – As the quarry is a privately-owned commercial operation, any enquiries regarding volume of work coming from the quarry is best directed to the owners and operators of the quarry.
DR PAGES RD WEIGHT RESTRICTION – In response to a question relating to the primary haulage route being Pomona Kin Kin Rd and Cooran being due to weight restrictions on Dr Pages Rd, TMR responded that under the QMP approved by Council, Pomona – Kin Kin Rd is the primary haul route and Dr Pages Rd may be used for local deliveries and also as a haul route depending on the destination of the product as depicted in the Plan. TMR recommends this enquiry be directed to Noosa Council for further clarification as Dr Pages road is under Noosa Council’s management, not TMR.
ROADWORKS IN COORAN – On being asked whether roadworks in Cooran & Traveston are due to impending trucks, TMR advises that as there are no state-controlled roads in, or leading into, the townships of Cooran or Traveston, any roadworks in these areas fall under the jurisdiction of the respective Councils.
TOOLARA WIND FARM – In response to questions regarding this quarry supplying product for this quarry, TMR advises that this detail has not yet been provided by the developer. The information will only be required three months prior to construction commencing and is in a completely different TMR zone, supported by a different office and staff to our local areas.
HOW MANY TRUCKS PER DAY – In response to a question regarding how many trucks per day are expected in consideration of the Maroochydore interchange job to the South added to ‘current volume’, TMR again responds that as the quarry is a privately-owned commercial operation and this is a commercial decision/agreement between the quarry, construction contractors and other customers, this enquiry is best directed to owners/operators of the quarry.
TMR continue to undertake engineering assessments regarding heavy vehicles and lane widths and we will share the outcomes once received.
We have forwarded any photos or emails clearly showing breaches of road rules directly to police and they have been actioning those when the owners of the trucks can be identified. Anything of this nature can also be reported via Policelink. Our local Police are currently exploring all options available to them in improving safety on these roads for residents.
After recent discussions with the Mines Inspector, who many residents have been emailing regarding truck movements in breach of the QMP, it is important to clarify that the Mining Inspectorate is responsible for safety matters within the quarry site and have no jurisdiction outside of its boundaries. They have also clarified noise matters below in response to queries from residents to our office:
- General Noise
- This is covered by operational hours under the QMP with Noosa Council.
- There are two elements to this, ‘over pressure’ and ‘ground vibrations’
- The quarry has monitoring equipment in place for both and in addition the blasts themselves are videoed. This data is recorded and inspected on a regular basis by the Mines Inspectorate.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT
We are currently awaiting confirmation of their policy regarding the issuing of fines during COVID-19. For any concerns relating to pollution, be that issues relating to Wahpunga Creek or excessive noise pollution, these can be report by email to email@example.com or call 1300 130 372.
The QLD State Government is currently in Caretaker mode in preparation for the upcoming election and Parliament has been dissolved. TMR, Police and other state departments are continuing to work with us during this period on operational matters, however there are restrictions on what we can currently access in relation to government policy and assistance at a Ministerial level. My efforts will continue at a departmental level in the meantime, and all departments are being responsive. We will be taking this up further with whoever forms government after the election as a matter of urgency.