WILLIAMTOWN Sand Syndicate’s impending sand mine off Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown, has been a controversial project since the time of its inception, back in the Nathan Tinkler era.
Resident opposition has been strong from the start, and there’s a view in that community that the mine should never have been approved in the first place.
Some are understandably disappointed the Williamtown and Surrounds Resident Action Group withdrew its court appeal against the Independent Planning Assessment Commission’s approval of the project to allow a select group of residents to receive financial compensation from the mining syndicate.
After all, the community previously stood as one in opposition to the project and many feel let down that the rights of those who have been compensated appear to have been made a higher priority than the wider community.
Others will have a more practical and pragmatic viewpoint – it is better to take what is on offer rather than risk getting nothing if the court appeal were to fail.
The 16 residents who were offered compensation are those most likely to experience the adverse impacts from the mine.
It should be noted that the mining syndicate has not acted illegally in offering compensation. Some may even suggest that this direct form of negotiation should be tried elsewhere where residents have been adversely affected by mining or industrial developments.
Whatever your viewpoint, most will agree that the situation is the last thing that the Williamtown community needs at this point.
This is a community that has seen property values plummet, the loss of livelihoods and an increase in mental health problems as a result of the ongoing Williamtown PFAS contamination scandal that originated at the local RAAF base.
The sand mine compensation saga has only brought further pain a community that is hurting badly. As Port Stephens MP Kate Washington told the Newcastle Herald, many residents feel trapped, stressed and fearful for their futures.
For this reason anyone who is tempted to be critical of those who have agreed to the compensation deal should first try and walk a mile in their shoes.
ISSUE: No 39,088.
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