Discovery of graves delays decision on quarry
A DECISION on a proposed quarry in the Innes Park area has been delayed because of suspicions there may be South Sea Islander graves on the site.
Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney called in the proposed quarry and a nearby housing development, which meant he would make the final decisions and there would be no appeals.
Mr Seeney was due to make a decision by July 19, but has delayed that until later in the year.
He said yesterday he had asked the proponents of the proposed Holcim quarry and Coral Cove developments to provide more information on their development applications.
"Once the proponents have provided further information, I will consider the development applications with the view of making a decision later this year," he said.
"As the proposed Holcim quarry development application is still under consideration, it is too early to comment on any conditions that might be imposed should the development application be approved."
Bundaberg South Sea Islander Action Group president Matt Nagas said stone walls built on the site had raised suspicions.
"In the 1890s there was camp of about 200 workers there, and about 50 of them died," he said.
"You'd be flat out driving a crowbar into the ground there, and we want to know where they're buried."
Mr Nagas said the workers might have been taken into town for burial, but he did not think the facilities for that existed then.
He said they were calling for a thorough investigation into the site.
"We're not against the quarry as such," he said.
"We just want to have that investigated."
Mr Nagas said even if the walls were so-called "Kanaka walls" they would still like to see them preserved.
Coral Coast Progress Association president Colin Hirning said the area certainly looked like a gravesite.
"If that's not a gravesite I haven't seen one," he said.
"It looks like a cemetery to me."
Mr Hirning said he was against the proposed quarry.
"We've had enough quarries and enough dust," he said.
Mr Hirning said if the quarry went in the proposed housing development nearby would probably not go ahead.
He said the hundreds of houses to be built there would bring much-needed progress to the area.
"If the quarry goes in it will hold sewerage here up for another 20, 30, 40 years," he said.
Quarry Action Group spokesman John Broadfoot said he was pleased with the delay because it meant the State Government was having a close look at the submissions.
He said there were definitely issues that needed to be investigated.