STAWELL - Northern Grampians Shire Council has agreed to hold an invitation only meeting for residents directly affected by the proposed Big Hill development project.
Invitations have gone out to between 120 and 140 properties in streets including Fisher and Upper Main.
The residents have been deemed to be in closest proximity to the mining expansion put forward in January.
Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice said the meeting is for people who live in very close proximity to any proposal of open cut mining Big Hill.
"I want to hold that meeting and have discussions with these people in a very much controlled environment," he said.
Cr Rice said he doesn't want people to be confused or mislead about the process.
"This is all about getting the facts to the people who are in the immediate vicinity," he said.
"It is a better way of doing it, making it smaller and more personal.
"People can then express their views for or against and be heard.
"There may well be people within the area who are for the project, but are not willing to come forward publicly to support it."
There will be no representation from the mine at the meeting with resident claims mine officials had 'hijacked' previous meetings.
Cr Rice said he has agreed to hold the meeting on the provision people understand he and councillors won't be able to answer questions about mining.
"I and nor will any councillors answer technical questions to do with the mine or mining, we are not experts in the mining industry," he said.
"I can only speak on council related matters.
"I will be making it clear to people, I'm not hiding, I'm not refusing to answer questions, I just don't know the answer.
"I will speak on the process, the environmental affects statement or anything council may have control of."
Cr Rice said he expected people to be concerned with the prospect of greater dust and noise and what the project could do to the value of their properties.
"I have already been asked what council will do for residents in the way of compensation," he said.
"The way I interpreted that is, will council lower rates for residents if property values decrease.
"The answer to that is yes, if property values decrease residents will see a lowering of their rates."
Cr Rice said only a small number of people had so far contacted him with concerns and complaints about the proposed open cut.
"I'm not playing it down, but I have responded to written letters or emails from about 10 people," he said.
"Three of the people were from out of town, so that makes it only seven locals out of about 6,500 people, a very small number."
The invitation only meeting will be held next Thursday March 14 at 6pm at the Stawell Town Hall.
Cr Rice has also agreed to hold another public meeting with any resident of the Northern Grampians shire who wishes to come along.
Cr Rice said the reason a date for the meeting hasn't been confirmed is because council is yet to hear back from Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
"We really want to know where the Minister wants to go before holding the open public meeting," he said.
"We were expecting an answer this week, it must be very close.
"If the Minister comes back and says he wants a full environmental effects statement that takes five years to complete then Crocodile Gold Corporations will put the locks on the gates and leave the town.
"There will be no need for the public meeting."
Cr Rice said on the request of two residents he had already agreed to a number of requirements.
"They want the meeting chaired by an independent chair person which I have agreed to," he said.
Nominations have been put forward for the role, with politician David Hawker among them, he was rejected.
"They want no mine representation at the meeting, which I again agreed to on the provision council will not answer any technical questions because we are not experts in the mining industry," he said.
"I don't want people going away saying that council refused to answer questions, we are not experts.
"We will speak about due process of how the application works through."
Cr Rice maintains his support for the proposed project while reaffirming the fact Stawell needs to learn to live without the mine.
"We really need to take the big picture into account, what is best for the whole community," he said.