DA being drawn up for quarry on Freemans Reach Road

A development application (DA) for a sand quarry is being drawn up for land at Freemans Reach, near where the well-known Ridge’s Dairy farmhouse once stood.

Greener Lawn Supplies P/L advertised its intention to undertake an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment for a proposed sand extraction operation in August.

Collapsed: Ridge's Dairy farmhouse at 353 Freemans Reach Road collapsed in April of this year, and a sand extraction operation will be proposed nearby. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Collapsed: Ridge's Dairy farmhouse at 353 Freemans Reach Road collapsed in April of this year, and a sand extraction operation will be proposed nearby. Picture: Geoff Jones.

The operation would take place on portions of 374, 395, and 415 Freemans Reach Road, which sits near the bank of the Hawkesbury River at Freemans Reach.

Project manager of the lead consultant team for the proposal, Sifat Noor, told the Gazette an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was currently being prepared, which would be submitted to council along with a DA by the end of this year in accordance to the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (the SEARs).

The plans would see a maximum of 70,000 tonnes of sand extracted from the site every year over the 10-year operational life of the quarry, for sale to commercial landscapers.

Mr Noor said a thorough investigation of the site had been conducted and major engineering designs in compliance with existing codes and requirements had been completed, along with noise, air pollution, heritage, traffic and bank protection studies.

It is intended that topsoil and vegetation would be managed following the advice of an ecological consultant, with a light dredge then proposed to extract the sand with the help of various types of excavators and trucks.

The excavation area only forms part of the site, and there would be an adequate buffer between the quarrying operation and the river, Mr Noor said.

“We are actually going to improve the condition of bank of the river, plugging existing historical excavated areas at the bank,” he said. 

“We are creating a minimum of circa 40-45 -metre buffer from the bank to avoid and possible impact to the bank, the river or its flow, or the bank.

“Plugging the excavated areas [that formerly allowed water to be accessed from the river] will actually improve the bank in the future, also to protect the river completely from the operation.”

The traffic study has identified a maximum of seven to eight trucks per day would transport material from the site, with minimal impact to the existing traffic conditions of critical intersections. Improvement and maintenance of roads were also being planned in consultation with relevant authorities, Mr Noor said.

“The outcome of our traffic study will help relevant authorities to improve existing road and traffic conditions,” he said. “Traffic-wise this is very minimal impact on the existing traffic.”

Hawkesbury City Council general manager Peter Conroy said in a statement that the council had been made aware of the intention to submit a DA for the operation, however it was yet to be received.

The farmhouse collapsed on April 13 of this year. ​