Residents demand meeting with Minister

Stawell residents are demanding the Planning Minister, Matthew Guy visit Stawell to see first hand how close their homes will be to the proposed Big Hill Enhanced Development Project.

They also want answers to questions about the mine operation that they believe remain unanswered despite the release of the Environment Effects Statement (EES).

Rob Blight has lived with his wife in the same Fisher Street home for 35 years.

He said one of their biggest concerns is who will ensure that Stawell Gold Mine follow the operational guidelines for the project if it is to proceed.

"Who is going to stand behind the town to make sure that it is done?" he said.

"If this company doesn't do its job and finish it off as it is supposed to, will the government stand behind it and will they regenerate the hill?"

Mr Blight said he and his wife are as adamantly opposed to the proposal as they were 15 years ago and the stress and worry about whether it will go ahead is taking its toll.

"There are a lot of aged people in town. We've tolerated the underground mine and explosions, but we don't want to have an open cut mine," he said.

"Sometimes it gets you that wild that you want to turn away, you don't want to face it because it is upsetting your life, and even now, you might want to turn your back on it, but you can't."

Neighbours Geoff and Dianne Blachford echoed the concerns of Mr Blight.

"Who is going to be the sheriff, that average people like us can contact if we have a problem?" Mr Blachford said.

"If the Stawell Gold Mine back out and don't do the job properly are the government going to step in and say well we'll resurrect the whole system?"

Mr Blachford said residents tossing up whether they are for or against the proposal should consider one thing.

"Probably if you asked ratepayers in the town whether they wanted a hole 40 metres to 100 metres from their back fence the majority of them would say no," he said.

"Dianne and I both love living here, that's what we built the house for."

Mrs Blachford, a chronic bronchitis sufferer said she is worried for her health because of the anticipated noise and dust.

"We bought the block in 2005 and built the house in 2010. At no time did we know that this was going to happen, otherwise it would have had a big effect on us buying the block and building the house."

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