One of the property owners directly affected by the proposed Burra Foods planning overlay, Viv Pepper, told last Thursday’s meeting that he is unsure whether to go ahead with a home building project now, in an effort to beat the likely restrictions, or abandon the project altogether with the prospect that values will fall if Amendment C99 goes ahead.
YOU won’t be able subdivide your land if it’s within 350 metres of the Burra Foods factory.
You’ll have to apply for a planning permit for even minor extensions to your home.
Applications to build a house on land in the Buffer Zone will also be subject to a planning permit process, which will include referral to Burra Foods, the EPA and other agencies for comment.
Unit developments will be furiously discouraged.
Even if you do want to build or extend, owners could be required to change the orientation and window locations, fit double glazing and extra sound deadening technology just to comply.
And when you come to sell the property, there’ll be a note on the Section 32 disclosure statement to say that the property is now subject to a highly restrictive Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) stopping all kinds of normal development.
The value of the land will almost certainly fall as a result.
And there’s to be no compensation for such a dramatic change in circumstances.
These and more worrying implications of the application by Burra Foods for an ‘Amenity Buffer’ around its growing milk factory in Korumburra were discussed at a well-attended public meeting in the town’s Community Meeting Room last Thursday where affected residents understandably asked: “What’s in it for us?”
Given the answers they received, they were remarkably restrained in their response.
Viv Pepper told the meeting that he had “sunk all his life savings into a little block of land in Wills Street”, within the proposed buffer zone, 200 metres south east of the factory.
“What will it do to the property values in general?” he asked.
“And what should I do now? Should I go ahead and build under the existing planning arrangements or should I just cut my losses, sell up and go somewhere else?”
“It may modify property values,” admitted the Strategic Planning and Development Manager at the South Gippsland Shire, Paul Stampton.
He was one of two shire officers to address the crowd, along with his colleague, Ken Griffiths, who reminded the audience several times that the application, for an ESO zone was Burra Foods’ doing, not the shire council’s.
In fact, Mr Stampton said later that the shire could do without the aggravation as it received only $700 to carry out the planning scheme amendment process, not nearly enough to assuage costs.
Of course, he did mention the not-so-insignificant matter of between $140 million and $200 million in the value of the annual multiplier effect of Burra Foods’ operations on the local economy.
Joe Rossi, a well-known land developer in the town, said property owners should not be expected to bear the brunt of reduced values and higher building costs without compensation.
“Is it fair to put the burden on to the people? There are modern ways to reduce the noise and the smell, otherwise you have to compensate people.”
Others questioned why an ESO was needed at all when Murray Goulburn at Leongatha didn’t have one.
“Yes it’s correct, Murray Goulburn doesn’t have one,” Mr Stampton said, noting that there were other methods that could be employed to protect the future of Burra Foods without the need of an acknowledgement on a homeowners’ Section 32 statement.
Another person said that if EPA conditions were going to make smell, noise and other emissions so good, “why do you want an overlay?”
“Things are going better but there will be woopsies from time to time. We can’t guarantee that there will never be an odour problem in the future but (following the commissioning of the waste water treatment plant and other measures) it will be more infrequent,” said Burra Foods General Manager of Operations, Glenn Falcke, who also addressed the meeting.
EPA spokesperson Karen Taylor also answered questions.
Other questions elicited the following information:
• An ‘Amenity Buffer’ is needed for an existing plant, according to the EPA, to minimise the number of people living in an area likely to be adversely impacted by odour and noise. “If a factory has one neighbour, you’ll have no trouble sorting out a compromise but it gets harder the more affected people there are,” Mr Stampton said.
• There are 50 to 60 properties in the 350 metre radius buffer zone
• There are 10 vacant allotments, owners of which would still be allowed to apply for one dwelling (but with planting buffer vegetation, double glazing, orientation and noise deadening and other treatments)
• Usually not required in a General Residential Zone, a planning permit to build a dwelling would cost $500
• About 80% of what Burra Foods produces is exported.
• Burra Foods’ CEO Grant Crothers is in Asia opening up new markets.
• The only way you can be heard is by putting in a written submission by Friday, August 1, 2014. Submissions can be delivered on line to email@example.com or posted to Private Bag 4, Leongatha 3953.
Many of those at the meeting expressed support for Burra Foods and the jobs provided locally.
Burra Foods growth is in the can
BURRA Foods has further plans for expansion at Korumburra, after the completion of its $22 million infant milk formula to Asia project which is just being commissioned.
As confirmed at a public meeting in the town last Thursday night, and detailed in a recent GHD ‘Buffer Assessment’ Report, Burra Foods intends to go ahead with Stage 2 of the project, although there are several serious ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’; the main one being financing.
The next stage, according to the GHD report will involve the development of a “canning capability for the infant formula” which could be built and operational by 2016.
But Burra Foods General Manager of Operations, Glenn Falcke, injected a note of caution into the idea at last week’s public meeting in Korumburra.
“Stage 2 is a pipedream costing $93 million which is a lot of money. When it happens, if it happens, it could be in two, five or even 10 years’ time.”
He also said that while 40 per cent of the site remained to be developed, this would allow only one additional dryer.
Several other things, besides the town planning considerations discussed at the meeting, could be standing in the way of further expansion.
One of them is understood to be the unwillingness, up until now, by Murray Goulburn to hand over more of the land it owns, adjoining the Burra Foods site.
MG may be still smarting from its decision to sell to Burra Foods at all more than 20 years ago, especially after the Korumburra-based firm’s burgeoning success.
Mr Falcke also said the firm expected to have its new waste water treatment plant operational by February 2015.
Completed at a cost of $540,000 the plant has the capacity to treat 700,000 litres of waste-a-day, cutting down on pollution and also problem odour.
The GHD report notes that Burra Foods has the potential to dramatically increase flows through the treatment plant, by upwards of ten times, indicating future plans for major production increases.