Among those taking an interest in the directions hearing about the Burra Foods Buffer Zone last Tuesday, October 28 were David Amor, Mark Olsen an affected Korumburra resident and Lyn Langdon and interested observer. m014414
AN independent panel, appointed by Planning Panels Victoria, has set aside four hours for Burra Foods to state its case as to why it needs a buffer zone around its factory in Station Street, Korumburra.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), by comparison, has requested only 20 minutes to present despite being the main regulatory authority.
Burra Foods will put the key submission to the panel on Wednesday, December 3 when it convenes for two days in the theatrette at Coal Creek, on December 3 and December 4, starting at 9am each day.
The exact arrangements for the two-day hearing into Amendment C99 have just been announced with the South Gippsland Shire Council opening proceedings at 9.10am on Wednesday, with a two-hour presentation, during which the shire has been asked by the panel to explain why it has reduced the width of the proposed buffer from 900 metres to 600 metres.
The shire will be represented by its Strategic Planning Coordinator, Ken Griffiths.
Burra Foods, and its consultants GHD, will follow at 11.10am for four hours.
The remainder of the submitters to be heard by the panel will all be affected residents and local community members speaking to submissions they have already made to council.
When they speak
Here’s the submissions schedule announced this week:
Wednesday, December 3
* 9am opening remarks
* 9.10 South Gippsland Shire Council
* 11.10 Burra Foods (represented by Amanda Johns of Thomson Geer Lawyers and calling expert environmental evidence from GHD)
* 4pm Paul Rotthier
* 4.20 Charles Wilson
* 4.40 Neil Olsen
* 4.50 David Amor
* 5.10 Christine McKenzie
Thursday, December 4
* 9am site visit to Burra Foods (1 hour)
* 10.30 preliminary matters
* 10.40 EPA (represented by Karen Taylor)
* 11am Viv Pepper, Elizabeth Jones & Les Guilfoyle
* 11.30 Ross Harris
* 11.35 Ron Hutton
* 11.40 Gloris Cooke
* 11.50 Thea Dent
* 12.05 Glenn & Samantha Brown
* 12.20 Mark Olsen
* 12.30 Council and Burra Foods response (20 minutes)
Many of the community submitters will provide personal accounts about how the buffer zone application has already affected them including Ms McKenzie, whose house sale reportedly fell through because of the uncertainty that it has created.
Nearby residents, including Glenn and Samantha Browns, will describe how the operation of the plant has affected them, something they say is unlikely to be altered by the introduction of a buffer zone.
If the number of local people who turned out for a purely administrative ‘Directions Hearing’ last Tuesday, October 28, is any indication, interest will be high in next months’ panel hearing.
That interest can only have been heightened by an incident last Thursday, October 30, when malfunction at the Burra Foods plant resulted in a quantity of milk powder being released into the air around the plant.
The powder reportedly fell on roofs, put an unwanted icing on parked cars and allegedly fouled water tanks in some houses; affecting residents as far as Bridge Street, well outside the proposed buffer zone.
While unwelcome, affected residents say the incident has strengthened their case against a buffer zone. The opposite could also be true.
Planning Panels Victoria has appointed two members to hear the submissions and to make recommendations back to the council.
They are Trevor McCulloch and Mandy Elliott, both experienced panel members.
Among other things, they have directed the Council and Burra Foods to:
* Make a response to all submissions,
* Justify the proposed revision to the ESO boundary, including what it was originally based on and why it is proposed to change it.
* Address the EPA’s response to the proposed changes to the ESO boundary
* Comment on why the EPA has requested that it be a ‘determining referral authority’ instead of a ‘recommending referral authority’
* Provide info on the status of any development plan or master plan for the Burra Foods site and any information about Burra Foods’ expansion plans for the site
* And comment on information about past noise attenuation, including what measures have been taken and by whom.
Amendment C99 proposes to introduce an Environmental Significance Overlay [Schedule 8 (ESO8) ‘Manufacture of Milk Products Amenity Buffer’] around the Burra Foods site and to identify the buffer in the Korumburra Framework Plan map in the South Gippsland Planning Scheme.
This is the reason given as to why the amendment is required:
“Dairy factory operations can impact surrounding lands especially in relation to odour, noise, dust and light. The objective of the Amendment is to inform land owners and prospective purchasers that the Burra Foods factory is an ongoing operation and has the potential to affect the residential amenity of the surrounding area. Similar to the existing sewerage treatment plant buffers (ESO4) and the Airport Environs Overlay buffers, application of the ESO8 will identify the presence of a potential amenity concerns, discourage the establishment of inappropriate sensitive land uses that may be incompatible with factory operations, and where practical, require buildings to be constructed using materials and techniques that minimise amenity impacts on occupants. The Amendment has no impact on existing buildings and works in the buffer area. Importantly, the ESO8 does not reduce Burra Foods’ responsibility to meet all of its EPA licensing and other legislative requirements relating to factory impacts on surrounding lands.”