Cudgen Lakes Project - Environmental Assessment

The Environmental Assessments and supporting Specialist Consultant Studies for the Cudgen Lakes Sand Extraction Project are lodged with the Department of Planning.

 

A copy of these documents is available for download from here

 

The Environmental Assessments are compiled with in-depth studies and analyses carried out to establish the environmental, social and economic viability and impacts of the Project.  Furthermore, these studies have assisted in designing the Project to avoid or minimise adverse environmental impacts on the environment and the local community.

 

A brief summary of the specialist studies for the original approval follows:

 

Socio-economic

 

Implementation of the proposed Structure Plan, made possible by fill from the Project, would generate around 8,500 full time equivalent jobs during construction, and permanent ongoing employment for a further 3,400 people. The total expenditure in the economy, including output multipliers, would be in the order of $2 billion.

It would provide compact development utilising existing infrastructure and would minimise travel. The Project would result in the productive utilisation of a regionally significant resource. The net present value of the resource itself is estimated to be approximately $30 million with five full time jobs at the site with salaries in the order of $300,000 each year over the life of the Project.

Flooding

Adverse impacts from the Project on surrounding properties or land users in the event of a Tweed River flood or a local catchment flood have been determined to be negligible.

Groundwater

Monitoring over several years has shown great natural variations in groundwater levels. Computer modelling indicates that existing groundwater users to the north of the Project Site would not be significantly affected, but an adjoining neighbour south of the Project Site might be affected. An agreement has been reached with that neighbour.

Acid Sulfate Soil and Sediments

Potentially acid sulfate soils and sediments have been identified within the Project Site. Below the uppermost soil layer shell fragments provide neutralising capacity, however management strategies have been developed to ensure exposure of sulfidic sediments is minimised and acid generation is avoided or neutralised through targeted application of alkaline amendments.

A detailed Acid Sulfate Soils and Sediments Management Plan will be developed for the Project.

Soil Contamination

Assessment indicates that the Project Site does not contain any contaminated soils (such as from previous applications of pesticides during sugar cane farming).

Agricultural Suitability

An assessment of the long-term agricultural viability of the Project Site has concluded that the Project Site is not suitable for intensive agriculture and is subject to a number of agricultural constraints including waterlogging and poor, variably distributed fertility.

Flora, Fauna and Aquatic Ecology

It has been assessed that the Project would maintain or improve biodiversity outcomes and would not result in any significant impacts upon any species, population or habitat, ecological communities, threatened or migratory species. The Project would result in the creation of a coastal freshwater lake with fringing wetlands that could provide additional habitat that may potentially be recognised as an endangered ecological community.

Traffic and Transport

The Project would implement a range of design measures including the construction of a new and improved Altona Drive - Crescent Street intersection and the realignment of Altona Drive. It is assessed that the Project would have little adverse impact upon the surrounding road network or road users.

Noise

Background noise levels were determined at four locations in the vicinity of the Project Site. The recorded daytime background noise level ranged between 41dB(A) and 51dB(A).  With the adoption of the noise controls and mitigation measures identified within the Environmental Assessment, all site establishment and operational activities are predicted to remain within accepted noise criteria. The Project would also be well within the criteria for road traffic noise at the closest residences to the proposed transport route (Altona Drive-Crescent Street-Tweed Coast Road).

The cumulative impacts of the Project with the adjoining Hanson Tweed Sand operation were also predicted to comply with the nominated noise criteria.

Air Quality

The air quality assessment indicates that, with the implementation of the safeguards and mitigation measures proposed within the Environmental Assessment, total deposited dust, total suspended particles and PM10 (suspended particulates less than 10μm in size) levels at surrounding residences and Cudgen Public School would remain within accepted criteria.

Aboriginal Heritage

A comprehensive survey of the entire Project Site and pipeline corridors was undertaken with the assistance of the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council.  No Aboriginal sites or relics were identified and the potential for such sites or items to occur within the Project Site is limited.

Visibility

Most views of the Project Site from surrounding elevated areas would be against the setting of the new Kingscliff Waste Water Treatment Plant, Hanson Tweed Sand Quarry and the future Australian Bay Lobster Farm. It is considered that the nature and scale of buildings associated with the sand extraction operation would be consistent with the scale and character of development in the immediate vicinity of the site.

As the Project progresses, and following completion of rehabilitation activities, it is considered that the visual character of the landscape would greatly improve with the addition of the final lake and fringing wetlands and parklands.

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