Residents fight to save Big Hill

Residents not just in Fisher Street, but across Stawell have been urged to erect signs in their front yards to help save Big Hill. Pictured are Geoff Blachford (left) and Rob Blight (right) with one of the signs that has sprung up in recent days. Picture: BEN KIMBER

Residents not just in Fisher Street, but across Stawell have been urged to erect signs in their front yards to help save Big Hill. Pictured are Geoff Blachford (left) and Rob Blight (right) with one of the signs that has sprung up in recent days. Picture: BEN KIMBER

STAWELL - Residents opposed to the Big Hill Enhanced Development Project have vowed to step up the fight against the proposal by drawing nation wide attention to their plight.

More than 80 people attended the latest public meeting to discuss the future of the town landmark and how to best respond to the Environment Effects Statement (EES).

Friend of Big Hill, Malcolm Hirst urged people on both sides of the debate to apply common sense when responding to the material contained in the report.

"It seems to me that it's common sense not to want to add to the risk to the community," he said.

"It seems to me that it is common sense not to do anything that might impact on my health, your health or anybody else's health.

"It doesn't matter how small that impact may be, it's just the idea that it's not good to do harm to your fellow citizens.

"It seems to me that it's probably common sense to think about where their (Stawell Gold Mine) actually going to do this work. For the past 150 years, people have put together rules to try and separate houses from industrial type activity, they are in the planning acts, they're all over the place."

Fisher Street resident, Marion Kossowski said the prospect of the project going ahead had already heightened the level of anxiety among people in the town.

"Those of us who are passionate about saving Big Hill, and keeping Stawell as the quiet attractive town, we all love, are now dealing with stress and anxiety on a daily basis which often leads to more serious ailments," she said.

"Just before Crocodile Gold Corporation announced their shocking proposal to open cut mine Big Hill, my husband and I had decided to relocate from our home in California to Stawell with the intention to upgrade and improve our property.

"Needless to say recent events have forced us to put all our plans on hold."

Friend of Big Hill, Wendy Melbourne said aspects of Stawell's heritage and culture are under threat.

They include the Pioneers Memorial, direction indicator and Quartz Memorial.

"It is so important that we keep these things. For tourism it is very important, but on a local level it is even more important."

Mrs Melbourne said she has concerns for the structural integrity of buildings including the old court house, schools and churches erected in the late 19th and early 20th century.

"It worries me how these buildings will react to blasting and there has been a lot more houses go up in the Fisher Street area in the last 14 years."

Mr Hirst encouraged residents, regardless of their view to take the opportunity to make a submission before next week's deadline.

"We as members of the public get an opportunity to talk to the referee, the mine has spoken to the referee, now's our chance," he said.

"Just because it is 7,000 pages, doesn't make it right. Volume and quality can be two different things.

"I'm sure if I spoke to you on a face to face basis, you'd tell me what you thought, we may agree, we may disagree, but you would say something, so please say it to the referee."

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