The Lithgow Council says it is concerned about the future of the coal mining industry in the region, after a recommendation to refuse an expansion of a local mine.
The Department of Planning says Coalpac’s proposal to consolidate and expand its operations at Cullen Bullen will have too greater impact on biodiversity in the area.
The proposal will go back to the Planning Assessment Commission for a final decision.
The Mayor, Maree Statham, says knocking it back could set a dangerous precedent.
“Well I guess it depends on the standard that the government set and if they set a precent like with Coalpac, there could be difficulties down the track with other DAs and applications for extensions with other coal mines.
“I think it’s going to be a tough time, as it is with every other industry at the moment.”
The Lithgow Council has previously raised concerns about job losses and economic impacts if the project does not get up.
Councillor Statham says she thought new conditions put on the project should have sufficed.
“I think it’s probably not a fair go, considering that they have complied to a lot of new conditions and there’s been very stringent conditions placed on the consolidation project,” she said.
“I thought that it would be a fair outcome for the residents of Cullen Bullen and a fair outcome for Coalpac in the event that it was given the go ahead with the new conditions”
However some residents think there would not be a dramatic impact on employment in the village if the expansion does not go ahead.
Cullen Bullen local Darcy McCann is opposed to the development, he says he is happy with the Department’s recommendation.
“I’m a self employed operator, I have been for the last 20 years and I’ve never received any work from that area, so it wouldn’t bother me in anyway.
“But in saying that, there’s only five pre cent of the townspeople who were involved in that mine while it was operating.”
He says he and some other residents still have serious concerns with the project.
“The main concern is the immediate town area with the dust and that that we’ve been coping for the last 10 years or so and they still haven’t done anything to suppress that.
“With the noise and the damage that was caused to the homes, which they won’t recognise and the health of our families for now and in the future.”