Protest over 'town-sized' camp

Yackam Road landowners and Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson.
Yackam Road landowners and Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson.

FOUR families on Yackam Rd are fighting a proposal to develop an 896-person workers camp in a protected regional ecosystem just 300m from the closest household.

Member for Gregory Vaughn Johnson met with landholders of Blackwater's rural lifestyle blocks last week and said the proposal raised traffic, policing, emergency services and environmental issues.

A development application was lodged by Transpac Capital for a camp to service Yancoal's Yarabee mine, 60km away on the other side of Blackwater.

"The proposal to develop a 900-person work camp on Yackam Road is completely inappropriate and a violation of the property rights of existing landholders adjoining the site," Mr Johnson said.

James and Laurette Keleher's properties shares a boundary with three sides of the proposed development, which is so sizeable, that if it were to include an extra 104 rooms, would be classified as a town.

Laurette said the development would have a devastating affect on the natural ecosystem, with waste water flowing directly into the "swamp".

Mr Johnson said such a development shouldn't be placed where fire, ambulance and police cannot easily service it.

Steve and Leonie Geary, on one of the nearby 122 acre (49.3ha) rural blocks, raised safety and traffic concerns.

"How can we feel safe when we know 900 men are living just there? How can I feel safe letting my children roam the property?" Leonie said.

Mr Keleher said Blackwater has nothing to gain from the proposal in its current form, which included a swimming pool, gym, mess and sporting fields to be built on site.

"None of the benefits will flow into the community," he said.

He said the camp would downgrade his property's land value.

Transpac's Troy Christenson said the company wanted to work with the community.

"Obviously we would like to have a site that would not impact on any surrounding residents but with the limited sites available on the market, this is difficult to achieve, he said.

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