Warragul Road resident, Thea Dent, is resigned to the fact that if there must be a buffer, her home close to the factory will be in it but she still maintains that Burra Foods should contain its operations inside its own boundary and not expect its neighbours to wear the consequences. M020315
AT first there were 50 houses in Korumburra impacted by the proposed Burra Foods’ buffer zone, now there are 22.
There were also a further 15 privately owned allotments, including five vacant residential blocks, when the draft of Amendment C99 went through council back in April 2014.
But following the release of recommendations by Planning Panels Victoria last week, for a smaller buffer zone to be established around the Burra Foods plant, the number of properties affected has been reduced.
And the impact of the planning controls has also been pared back, crucially placing no new restrictions on home extensions which add less than 25 per cent more floor space.
However, while the applicant, Burra Foods, has warmly welcomed the changes as “good planning and common sense” and the shire’s planning department has embraced the changes by preparing a revised Amendment C99 for council’s consideration next month; local residents have restated their opposition to the whole thing.
“It’s not about who’s in and who’s out, it’s fundamentally wrong and we’ll fight it,” said Wills Street resident Viv Pepper, claiming the panel had virtually ignored the pleas of the landowners.
“They say it’s for the people coming in or developments in the future but what about the people who are here already?
“It’s poor retrospective planning to fix up poor planning and we are going to fight this.
“Council is trying to do a Pontius Pilate and wipe their hands of this by relying on the independent panel recommendation but it’s fundamentally unfair to the people whose homes are affected and it does nothing to change the operations of Burra Foods,”
Warrgul Road resident Thea Dent, is resigned to the fact that her home will be included if any buffer goes ahead because she’s so close to the factory but she agrees it’s unfair.
“In my opinion Burra Foods purchased the property without much thought about future expansion but unfortunately we are being made to wear the consequences,” Mrs Dent said.
“They should be made to live within their own boundaries and not to impose on their neighbours who have worked hard to earn their properties.
“I acknowledge that Burra Foods is good for the town but they also have an obligation to be a good neighbour to us all.”
Station Street resident, Ashley Surman, whose home is no longer inside the buffer, is still opposed to it.
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of Burra Foods to the economy but it’s no good if the town suffers,” he said.
It’s odd-on though that the new, revised amendment will go through council at its meeting on Wednesday, February 25, especially when you consider a larger buffer received unanimous support back in April.
Cr Bob Newton, however, was absent from that meeting and wants the buffer zone scrapped.
“I haven’t seen the panel report yet but I didn’t want a buffer zone at any stage, it’s unfair, and that’s still my view,” Cr Newton said this week.
Cr Kieran Kennedy was also absent from the April meeting but his views are unknown.
Cr Nigel Hutchison-Brooks, who moved the original motion, said last week that it would be difficult for council to reject the panel’s recommendations but said he would keep an open mind until the matter came to council.
However, while some residents claimed the panel didn’t reflect their concerns in the recommendations, panel chair Trevor McCullough, did acknowledge the submitters issues as follows:
He said the key issues for objecting submitters were:
• Addressing existing odour, dust and noise issues;
• Burra Foods should be made to ‘clean up its act’;
• The ESO is not needed;
• The ESO will affect property values and insurance premiums;The GHD report on which the ESO is based is flawed; and
• The cost of sound proofing and other measures required in the ESO schedule are unreasonable.
He also recommended some softening of the planning controls associated with the ESO8 overlay, as follows:
• A permit is not required for external alterations to a building that do not increase the internal floor area of the building by more than 25%
• Landowners seeking to subdivide extra allotments will not have to register a Section 173 Agreement on all new titles warning prospective owners of the possible impact of the factory.
• The council may also set aside measures to minimise the impact of noise, odour and light pollution, in the design of the building, if the measures are considered unnecessary.
• Land only partially covered by the buffer would be allowed the previous planning status for the unaffected part (specific reference to Glenn and Samantha Brown)
But restrictions do remain for homeowners and landholders inside the proposed buffer:
• Subdivision of land for ‘accommodation’ uses, including normal houses will be discouraged if it will “result in an increase in the number of people likely to be exposed to amenity impacts from the operation of a manufacture of milk products facility”.
• Permits will be required for any building to be used by people for any purpose
• Applications for a planning permit will have to provide building design and layout details which minimise the impact of noise, odour and light pollution (it doesn’t specifically say ‘from the plant’).
The proposed new buffer (inside circle) has been reduced in size, in line with the Planning Panels’ recommendations, to exclude the railway land, but it has also excluded seven properties in the Wills Street area previously covered by the proposed ESO8 planning controls.