By Bonny Burrows
The weekend’s community walk of Mount Cannibal in protest against the controversial granite quarry proposed for a site just 350m away from the scenic mountain, generated huge interest.
Three hundred community members trekked the local icon on 12 November with the majority unaware of the proposed quarry and its “detrimental impacts”.
The walk was organised by the Mount Cannibal and District Preservation Group which has long been campaigning against the project that would see developer Hanson Constructions extract an estimated 70 to 100 million tonnes of granite from the site over 80 to 120 years.
The group’s secretary David Bywater said while he knew the mountain attracted outside interest, he was unaware just how popular it was as a tourist spot.
“They came from all over the place – Berwick, Nar Nar Goon, Bunyip, Warragul, even New Zealand,” Mr Bywater said.
“I couldn’t believe the catchment area Mount Cannibal attracts.”
Despite “more than half” of the hikers in attendance being unaware of the proposed quarry and simply attending for their own recreational purposes, Mr Bywater said the day provided the perfect opportunity to inform regular users of the mountain about the development.
“These are the people that will be affected,” he said, adding there “was lots of interest, support and shock-horror” from those who didn’t know.
“It was roundly condemned. People were in disbelief, especially when told the quarry could be just 350m away.”
He said the general consensus was that the project was unsuitable for such area.
“Walking the tracks, enjoying the flowers and the wildlife plus taking in the vistas of native bushland, agricultural enterprises and state forests are just a few of the joys of this location,” Mr Bywater said.
“This project threatens all of it.”
He said the Mount Cannibal and District Preservation Group and local community members would continue their fight against the controversial proposal.