The affected Korumburra residents were out in force at last week’s council presentation day, including Samantha Brown, Les and Elizabeth Guilfoyle, Thea Dent, David Amor, Marilyn Roger, Viv Pepper, Lyn Langdon, Glenn Brown, Paul Rothier, Neil Olsson, Alan Roger and Christine McKenzie with Cr Bob Newton. m023814
IT IS by no means certain what the South Gippsland Shire Council will do next Wednesday, September 24 when it meets to decide the future of the proposed Burra Foods buffer zone.
Only one thing is certain, whichever way the council decides to go, some people will walk away from the 2pm meeting in Leongatha very unhappy.
Because, going by the submissions made to council last week, there appears to be no middle ground.
On the one hand, Burra Foods CEO Grant Crothers wants the council to accept its officers’ report and vote to send the matter to an Independent Planning Panel for its consideration; a public process which would give each of the 74 objectors and 17 supporters a chance to formally make their case.
Speaking at the public presentation session last week, Mr Crothers said he believed the impact of the proposed Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) around the milk factory and over adjoining private property had been blown out of proportion.
The residents who own houses inside the proposed buffer zone, on the other hand, beg to differ.
They say it will decimate land values, make houses almost impossible to sell and unfairly restrict building options and even renovation plans.
“I’m here to support the report to be presented to the meeting on the 24th of September. It has a lot of merit and does achieve a mid-point in most areas raised by the residents and Burra Foods,” Mr Crothers said.
He was referring to a reduction in the area covered by the buffer zone and also the removal of Burra Foods as a referral authority. In other words the factory will not be given the opportunity to comment on private building projects close to the factory.
Mr Crothers said the existence of an ESO would mean that people were advised up front that they were living close to a manufacturing operation and, from time to time, problems do arise.
“I don’t see how it reduces complaints,” Cr Andrew McEwen said.
“Things do happen and as growth and development around us becomes more intense, there will have to be guidelines.
“Having a veranda facing an environmental zone, for example, would be a bad idea.”
He said he wouldn’t like to see the council give up the potential to manage development in the sensitive area around the Burra Foods plant but if they watered down the proposal any further, that’s what would happen.
During the afternoon session last week and again in the evening, affected residents made a strong case against the introduction of a controlled buffer zone.
But to a man and woman, they all declare they were not against Burra Foods and acknowledged the plant had been very good for the town
* Thea Dent (property inside the proposed overlay): My problem with the environmental overlay is that I can’t do with my house what I have previously been able to do… it doesn’t affect Burra Foods.
* Viv Pepper (affected property owner): The environmental overlay is weighted heavily in Burra Foods favour. They should be encouraged to manage their odour and discharge within their own boundary.
* Glenn and Samantha Brown (affected property owners): Reported several incidents when dried milk powder showered his home and when chemical smells were released causing health problems. The proposed ESO would dramatically impact property values and shire rates.
* Christine McKenzie (affected owner): Concerned that future building would require a planning permit. Also concerned about lost property sales in the area while the amendment process was dragging on.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks maintained it was futile for the shire to refuse to send the planning amendment to a planning panel because Burra Foods would have every right to appeal.
Cr Bob Newton said he opposed the buffer zone proposal and also warned that it was dangerous to send such matters to a planning panel because in many cases they made decisions without any knowledge of local issues as was the case with the saleyards.
“They said ‘no’ to retail development on the saleyards site and Korumburra virtually died,” he said.
“They make decisions and leave the local people to pick up the pieces.”
The matter is set to be the key issue decided at next Wednesday’s council meeting.