SEALED: Plant to pave the way for more jobs
DESPITE community concerns, South Grafton will be getting a new asphalt plant.
Clarence Valley Council has approved a development application for an asphalt plant on Tyson St, South Grafton which will include a 20-metre high mixing tower and two 12-metre silos.
While local residents had raised opposition to the plant over fears for their health and the environmental impact of the plant adjacent to Musk Valley Creek, the application was given the all clear from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The plant would be a boon for the local economy, with up to 15 jobs created during the construction phase and as many as 22 jobs when the plant began producing between 30,000 to 100,000 tonnes of asphalt per year.
In deciding to support the application, councillor Andrew Baker said the council had been provided with a lot of information from the "expert regulatory authority" and accepted the veracity and honesty of the report.
Cr Baker also pointed out how industrial processes had changed and said Workcover would have a big role in how the plant operated.
"Workcover doesn't allow the things that happened in the good old days when we washed in thinners and could be exposed to fumes and dust all day," he said.
"They won't allow continuation if the operator isn't operating within the required terms because they want to go home to their families every day."
Crs Debrah Novak and Greg Clancy both voiced opposition to the plant and Cr Novak noted the 19 submissions to council against the proposal should be heeded.
However Cr Karen Toms said people who opened businesses were also part of the community and should be represented and while she acknowledged community fears were real, felt they were alleviated by the EPA report.
"We need these plants. How on earth will we have roads without them?" she said.
"And if we are not going to put them in an industrial zone where are we going to put them?"