Time is running out to protest the construction of a large open-cut sand quarry with a boundary just metres from the sacred grotto at Penrose Park.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy at Penrose Park attracts many thousands of pilgrims a year.
Resident Bernadette Lawlor has led the fight against the state government’s Sutton Forrest Quarry Project.
She says the 47 hectare open-cut pit will reduce and pollute the water supplies of the Pauline Fathers who minister the shrine and their neighbours.
One of Australia’s largest mines, it will operate around the clock for 30 years and require deforesting 120 acres along the Great Western Wildlife Corridor–an area similar in size to Sydney’s CBD.
Apart from a catastrophic impact on native wildlife in the corridor it will “completely destroy the peace and quiet at the shrine”, said Ms Lawlor.
According to the plans, one border of the quarry will lie 700 metres from the grotto.
Western Sydney University environmental science lecturer, Ian Wright, has also warned that the ecosystem which feeds into Sydney’s water catchment could be irreparably damaged by the quarry project.
“The proposed mine does pose substantial and unquantified risks,” he told the ABC.
The Pauline Fathers declined to comment, but Ms Lawlor said they remain “very concerned” by the plans and would appreciate any support from the Church and wider community to protest them.
The Save Our Sands Alliance protest group has failed in its bid to extend the time for submissions to the NSW planning authority. Submissions close on Thursday 21 June, 2018 and are most valuable said Ms Lawlor.
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