Couple's dream home wrecked by unwanted neighbour: 'It ruined our life'
Annette and Shane Morgan's former slice of paradise south of Sydney has now become a dust-induced nightmare.
An upset couple say their lives have been ruined after an unwanted neighbour moved in next door to their dream home.
Annette Morgan and her husband Shane have spent an idyllic 23 years on their rural quarter-acre block near Menangle, southwest of Sydney, but claim their peaceful existence has since taken a very dusty and noisy turn.
The pair say they have been forced to stay inside and keep their windows closed after mining company South32 received approval to set up a coal mine on land neighbouring the four-bedroom home where they raised their children.
“Shane and I spend hours in tears because we just don't know what's going to happen and we put so much effort into it, and they just don't care,” Ms Morgan told A Current Affair.
However, South32 claim the mine isn't actually new, but has been in operation “for many decades”. It's understood the project is the creation of new vent shafts.
Couple forced to drink bottled water
Since construction began, Mr and Ms Morgan say their property has been swamped by large plumes of dust, which have then settled on their roof and entered their water supply.
They claim they have been forced to start drinking bottled water, but still have to bathe and breathe in the particles. The noise from large trucks passing their home and 11,000 horsepower motors has also become unbearable and the rolling hills surrounding their slice of paradise are no longer visible.
“When you’re out the front you can’t talk to people, you can’t hear each other,” Ms Morgan told ACA.
The couple say the current construction has left them mentally and financially drained and that they fear “toxic waste” will be pumped out of the vent shafts. “That will come toward us,” she said, claiming the air quality is one above the approved level.
Although it would pain them to leave their forever home, the couple said they doubt anyone would want to buy the property anyway. “It ruined our life,” Ms Morgan said.
South32 responds to couple's complaints
A spokesperson for South32 issued a statement to Yahoo News Australia saying the company has been in contact with the Morgans and other community members to address any concerns.
“The mine ventilation infrastructure is critical for continued safe underground operations in an approved area of our Appin Mine, supporting significant ongoing employment and investment for local communities,” they said.
“Prior to receiving government approval for the project, we undertook significant engagement with local residents over a number of years to outline details of the project, including with Mr Shane Morgan and Mrs Annette Morgan, and listened to their feedback.
“This process was important to us and we made changes to the project design in response. During the New South Wales Government assessment and approvals process, there was no formal objection to the plans from Mr and Mrs Morgan in relation to the project.
“We have met with them to discuss the project on a number of occasions from 2020 and have maintained contact with Mr and Mrs Morgan since the start of construction.”
The spokesperson said there have been no breaches of strict dust and noise regulations at the site.
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