Friends step up campaign to save Big Hill

Friends of Big Hill members came together last Sunday, to share their concerns about the proposed open cut mining of Big Hill.

Sherrie Hunt on top of Big Hill.

Sherrie Hunt on top of Big Hill.

A sunset celebration was held on top of Big Hill, to air concerns over the open cut proposal and concerns of health issues.

The group estimates one hundred people braved the wet conditions and armed with placards, marched up Big Hill, chanting "health before wealth, save Big Hill".

Spokesperson Sherrie Hunt, said given the steep incline of the hill, it was heartening to see some of Stawell's older residents tackle the walk. People were aided by their walking sticks and in some cases frames in their quest to save their beloved cultural landmark.

Ms Hunt said speakers gave tribute to Big Hill, spoke about facts regarding health and urged supporters to stay resolute and continue their opposition to the proposed open cut of Big Hill.

"The active core group of Friends of Big Hill, has grown from twenty to over one hundred," Ms Hunt said.

"We're planning to harness all that energy, generated by disenfranchised residents to galvanise our campaign to save Big Hill and protect the health of our community.

"We would still prefer a referendum to ascertain the percentage of the residents supporting or opposing the Big Hill open cut gold mine.

"We feel that the social survey conducted by the mine lacked methodological rigour and did not reflect the real social sentiment of Stawell."

"Individuals who are opposed to the project asked critical questions regarding the destruction of Big Hill researching numerous hours, weeks and months disseminating relevant information on health, environmental, cultural, social, pollution, amenity and the devastation of Big Hill."

Last Monday's Direction Hearing was well attended by different community groups, government departments and Crocodile Gold representatives, including Barrister Tim Power.

The hearing was chaired by Ms Jenny Moles.

Panel hearings will commence on July 2 and continue until approximately July 17.

Stawell residents are encouraged to attend the hearings as relevant information will be discussed regarding health, environment etc.

The panel will then sit and hand recommendations about this project to the Planning Minister, Matthew Guy.

Stawell Friends of Big Hill continue to invite Mr Guy to Stawell to have a meeting with residents so they can air their concerns directly.


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