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Council forced into reverse

Friday, 17th December, 2010

By Andrew Robertson

City Council appears set to revoke its decision that prevents Perilya from transporting ore through the city from a restarted Potosi mine.

Councillors will this afternoon consider rescinding a resolution it adopted last month that would have forced Perilya to transport ore to its Southern Operations on a yet-to-be built haulage road.

The rescission motion submitted to the general manager yesterday and signed by three councillors, including Mayor Wincen Cuy, follows legal advicethat the resolution was invalid because it contained uncertainty for Perilya.

An alternative motion has been put forward by the councillors that proposes Council approve recommencement of mining at Potosi and the roadtransport of ore to South Operations, subject to conditions.

These include upgrading of the streets, roads and roundabout along the proposed transport route in preparation for the passage of B-double trucks.

Transportation will also be restricted to daylight hours between 7am and 7pm each day, and the average number of truck movements capped at 48 a day with a maximum of 30 loaded vehicles.

The motion, if adopted, will also require Council and Perilya to enter into a voluntary planning agreement for the construction of an alternative heavy vehicle route.

Mayor Cuy said yesterday the new motion would satisfy all parties as it would provide the certainty that Perilya required and much needed jobs for the city.

He was also confident the haul road would be built in 12 to 18 months, well before Perilya was ready to bring Potosi into operation.

"We're suggesting the haul road will be completed before Perilya are ready to (transport ore)." 

Council's original decision to link the development consent of Potosi to the construction of the haul road followed strong opposition from residents along Perilya's proposed transport route.

Mayor Cuy conceded the motion that would be considered by councillors today would allow Perilya to use its proposed route, if the by-pass was not ready in time.

"It's a matter of planning for things to fall in place. Obviously if things don't fall into place Perilya will be allowed to use the streets.

"What I would say is there has to be a certain amount of trust because I personally believe City Council wants this haul road, Perilya wants this haul road and residents want this haul road."

The motion was among a number of options Council considered after learning about the legal ramifications of its decision.

But South resident Robyn Gould said Perilya should be made to sign the agreement for the construction of the haul road before getting consent for its development application.

She said she didn't trust Perilya. "They're holding a big stick over Council's head," she said. Ms Gould, who lives along the proposed transport route, also criticised the secrecy of the process, saying Council and Perilya should have been more open with residents.

She also questioned the decision to hold today's extraordinary meeting, which is open to the public, at 3pm instead of in the evening.

"To me this is being pushed through very quietly." Before construction can go ahead on the proposed haul road, which would link the Barrier Highway either side of the city via the airport, Council will first need to obtain a range of approvals.

Mayor Cuy said earlier this week that the one thing that could hold up construction was the native title process.

"We're hoping the State Government will see fit to fast-track (approvals)," he said yesterday. "It is a priority for the city; one hundred jobs for a cityof our size is equivalent to 40,000 jobs in Sydney."

He expected the cost for the haul road - estimated to be between $3 and $4 million - to be split three ways between Council, Perilya and the State Government.

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