The council will consider reducing the area of the buffer zone around Burra Foods and also whether or not to ask the Minister for Planning to appoint an Independent Planning Panel to consider Planning Scheme Amendment C99.
THE South Gippsland Shire Council is offering to reduce the size of the proposed buffer zone around the Burra Foods factory still further.
In a proposal to be put to the Wednesday, September 24 council meeting, the reduced buffer will generally trace a circle, 300 metres from the factory’s treatment plant, but will follow the lot boundaries in Wills and Grey streets, and along the rail reserve.
The shire’s planning department is also proposing to reject the idea that Burra Foods become a referral authority for applications inside the buffer area, i.e. unable to second-guess private home building and other development plans.
And Burra Foods CEO, Grant Crothers, has come out last week in favour of the compromise position.
The bad news for Burra Foods, however, is that there is no guarantee that the new, reduced buffer zone area will be supported by the councillors when the time comes to vote.
Korumburra councillor Bob Newton said this week that he didn’t believe the proposal would have the numbers.
“I don’t think it will get through. Depending on which councillors are at the meeting, I just don’t think there’s enough support for it,” Cr Newton said.
The report notes that 91 submissions were received by council, the majority opposed to the buffer which would place restrictions on building and even renovations.
“Personally, I’m against it. I don’t think it’s needed,” he said.
“With the EPA regulations and the planning controls the shire already has, I don’t think it’s necessary.
“There have hardly been any complaints in the past few years.
“What I think they want to discourage is people putting up units and other sensitive developments in the area around the factory and that’s fair enough.
“They’ve got plans to develop the factory which is good and they want some security for that but I don’t think it will get through.”
Cr Newton said if council rejected the Burra Foods buffer proposal it would then be up to the firm to consider challenging it at VCAT.
Burra Foods CEO, Grant Crothers, issued a statement last week, after the publication of the council’s September 24 agenda, commending the report and its recommendation.
To see the agenda, follow the links from the Sentinel-Times’ website at www.sgst.com.au
“It is a well-considered report that balances community concerns with the industrial zoning of our site.” said Mr Crothers.
“We support the key recommendations;
* To appoint an independent Planning Panel to consider the scheme,
* To reduce the recommended buffer zone,
* To consider removal of Burra Foods as a Referral Authority for Planning Permit applications, and
* Consider the recommendations of the Independent Planning Panel before making a final decision.
“The report to council well recognises the volatility that comes with milk processing and that it is impossible to guarantee factory operations will not affect adjoining areas at all times,” he added.
The statement also noted that “it’s important to remember that Burra Foods is not immune to EPA regulations and continues to work with them on environmental issues in an effort to have any operational impact contained to their own site.”
He said the report to council also “provides clarity around some community misconceptions, such as the requirement for new dwellings to have double glazing and a negative impact on land values and increased insurance premiums.”
The council meeting at which the Burra Foods buffer zone will be considered starts at 2pm on Wednesday, September 24.