TWO RESIDENTIAL developments at Tweed Heads and Terranora have been fined $15,000 each by the Department of Planning and Environment for failing to manage dust.
Developer Altitude Lifestyle, part of the Metricon Group, was found to have breached planning conditions related to dust management at the Altitude Aspire site in Terranora, where the company is constructing a new housing development of 250 lots.
Following community complaints, the Department’s investigation revealed that the company had failed to take adequate measures including dampening surfaces during earthworks, spraying topsoil stockpiles with dust suppression and installing physical dust fences to prevent dust from affecting the amenity of the neighbourhood during construction.
In addition, the Department issued an Official Caution to Altitude Lifestyle for failing to keep exposed bulk earthworks areas below the five hectare limit contained in the approval.
According to the Department of Planning the company has rectified the breach and implemented appropriate systems to track progress.
Hutchison Civil also breached dust control conditions at the Fraser Cove 156-lot residential development in Tweed Heads South by failing to build fences to block dust and failing to dampen surfaces during earthworks.
The company has since implemented the required dust mitigation and management measures and the Department said they will continue to monitor the site
Dr Oliver Holm, Executive Director of Resource Assessments and Compliance, said both companies must now pay a $15,000 fine, the largest penalty notice the department can issue for compliance breaches.
“Dust management conditions exist to protect the neighbourhood from the air-quality impacts of large construction sites,” Dr Holm said.
“At the moment the Tweed area is a residential development hot spot and the Department’s compliance officers have been busy keeping watch.
“Currently, we are monitoring around 65 major project sites in the Tweed area, where the construction of large-scale residential developments is taking place.”
Dr Holm said that compliance officers undertake unannounced surveillance and site visits, audits, and follow-up community complaints to ensure projects meet planning approval conditions
“However, this is only a small part of our team’s compliance monitoring work as we make visits to major projects across the entire state,” he said.
“The community quite rightly have an expectation that developments in their neighbourhood are being done properly and follow all conditions that were imposed as part of their approvals.
The Department’s February compliance report shows five penalties worth a total $75,000 were issued across the state and more than 100 major project sites were visited including Kings Forest, with most operators and developers found to be compliant.