Claim, counter-claim in fight over Kiah sand

Kiah Sand owner/operator Clyde Thomas has hit back at claims made by a local resident, who accused his company of illegally extracting sand from the Kiah River.

Kiah Sand owner/operator Clyde Thomas has hit back at claims made by a local resident, who accused his company of illegally extracting sand from the Kiah River.

Kiah resident Ralph Lay is furious about what he believes is illegal sand extraction from the Kiah River by Kiah Sand.

“I have three main concerns; The removal of sand out of the river bed, the removal of sand from the river front and the extraction of water out of the river,” Mr Lay said.

“He (Kiah Sand operator Clyde Thomas) has no permission, no legal rights from anybody,” Mr Lay said.

Kiah Sand owner/operator Clyde Thomas refutes Mr Lay’s claim of illegal extraction of sand from the Kiah River.

Ralph Lay accuses Kiah Sand of going outside their Council approval, which allows them to extract sand from a property adjacent to the river.

But Mr Thomas said this is not the case, and that the only work that takes place in the river itself is the maintenance of two sump holes, for which he says he has approval.

“For the last 28 years, we’ve kept two holes open in the river for use by the Rural Fire Service,” Mr Thomas said.

“They are maintained as static water points that can be accessed by the Rural Fire Service during bushfires.

“There’s nothing illegal about it.”

Mr Lay made several complaints to Bega Valley Shire Council last week, regarding Kiah Sand’s activity around the river.

A Council spokesperson said two of these complaints – one regarding the sump holes, and another, regarding water extraction from the river – are the responsibility of the NSW Office of Water, and have been passed on.

An Office of Water spokesperson declined to comment until their investigation has been completed.

Mr Lay says he also complained to Council claiming dust and noise pollution and a breach of hours of operation, regarding Kiah Sand’s operation on the adjacent private property.

A Council spokesperson told the Magnet that they are working with the owner/operator to resolve the complaints.

But Mr Lay said dust and noise are not his only concerns.

“In the 2011 flood, a whole lot of sand and mud washed across onto my property,” he said.

“If we have another flood, it’s all going to come over to my place again.”

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