Residents protest trucks
CONCERNED citizens gathered at the Rifle Range Bridge in Mt Molloy last Thursday to protest against the proposed increase in truck movements down the Rex Range to supply the Mossman mill with sugar cane from the Tablelands.
The residents have formed the Steering Committee for Sustainable Local Area Management and are concerned about the plans to truck 700,000 tonnes of sugar cane from the Tablelands to the Mossman mill via the Rex Range.
They claim the Mackay Sugar, which owns the Mossman mill, will be using 12 B-Double trucks per hour, 24 hours a day, disrupting the peaceful hamlets and using the Rex Range road which was never intended for that volume of heavy traffic.
A recent meeting was held in Julatten spearheaded by Robyn Rose saw over 80 people attend who are against the haulage increase which they claim raises issues for the road’s condition, safety, noise and environmental issues.
‘‘The B-double situation on the Rex Range is already at a critical level,’’ Ms Rose said.
‘‘The Rex Range was not made for and is not suitable for B-double trucks.
‘‘Anyone who has driven this road knows the condition it is in and one can only guess at how much worse it will get.
‘‘But it is more than just a road issue, what about the environment and safety of other road users.
‘‘One-lane bridges, potholes, narrow roads - it is going to affect other road users in many ways, from delays to deterioration of roads to the point it will cause major wear and tear on your car or bike.
‘‘Our wildlife will be affected our air quality will suffer and our lives in general will be worse off.
‘‘It may be the mill and growers’ livelihood but it is our lives that will be affected in the long-term.
‘‘We are the meat in the very unpalatable, proverbial sandwich.’’
Mackay Sugar chief executive officer Quinton Hildebrand said residents have nothing to fear as the proposed volume of cane to be halued was comparable to the amounts transported before the construction of the Tableland Mill.
‘‘From the 2014 season, an additional three trucks will operate on the Rex Range every hour, lifting the total amount of trucks to eight per hour,’’ he said.
But this figure is only for one way, meaning there will be 16 B-Double trucks per hour using the route from May to November.
Mt Molloy resident and business owner Melissa Bloore said the road won’t cope with that level of truck usage.
‘‘And if the season will run for 30 weeks, it will end in November, just in time for wet season,’’ she said.
‘‘Who will pay for the repairs to the roads and how will they get it done in the middle of the Wet?’’
Mackay Sugar is holding a community information session at the Mt Molloy Community Hall on June 4 at 5pm and concerned residents are preparing a petition that will be ready for signatures on the night.
PROTEST: at the Rilfe Range Bridge