imageTHE tiny South Gippsland hamlet of Kernot received a reprieve from the Bass Coast Shire Council last night when it rejected the application from the Yo You Dairy Corporation for a large-scale dairy development on the outskirts of town.

However, while councillors voted in front of a packed public gallery in the Wonthaggi council chambers to unanimously reject the shire officers’ recommendation for the project to go ahead, subject five pages of conditions, Cr Phil Wright said he feared the shire might have trouble defending its decision if the matter went to VCAT.

The application proposes a $6 million dollar upgrade to an existing farm. The proposed works will include an agricultural barn for keeping of animals, milk bottling plant, cold storage room and the creation of a car park.

The proposal aims to increase carrying capacity of the land from 500 cattle at present up to 1000. The development proposed would be constructed in two stages, with the agricultural cattle barn being split between stages one and two.

According to a shire report, the proposal is expected to create around eight additional jobs on the site; production of dairy products and potentially up to 30,000 litres of milk per day (at peak operational times based on 1000 cattle each producing 30 litres per day).

“This will vary dependent on cattle numbers. Present farm output is approximately 10,000 litres of milk per day. At present truck movements to the site are approximately one per day, dependent on time of year. The proposal could create up to three additional truck movements per day when Stage 1 of the cattle barn is completed. Truck movements would increase to a maximum of six per day on the completion of Stage 2 of the cattle barn and a milking herd of 1000 head of cattle.”

But the shire officers recommended that stage 2 of the cattle barn not go ahead and that cattle numbers be restricted to 500 head. The barn, in which dairy cattle were to be kept and fed for up to eight months of the year was to be 228 metres long by 47 metres wide (10,440 sqm) or six times the size of the Korumburra IGA supermarket.

It would have been over 50 metres longer than the MCG, as noted by Cr Neil Rankine during the debate.

Conclusion of the shire officers: “The application for a milk processing plant and dairy has been a contentious issue and considerable numbers of objections from the local community and the wider area have been received. However, the application drew no adverse comments from referral agencies. In planning terms the application proposes an agricultural use in a farming area, albeit with some large buildings. The application has been assessed by an external consultant in regards to the suitability of the building in regards to the significant landscape overlay; this advice considered the application to be acceptable subject to suitable landscaping and materials. It is considered that issues raised in regards to transport, odour, noise, water and visual impact have been addressed either within the application, by way of proposed conditions should a permit be issued or from potential future monitoring of the site by EPA and Melbourne Water. It is recommended that cattle numbers must not exceed 500 and only one stage of the cattle barn be approved. The applicant has failed to adequately demonstrate that an increased herd would not result in a significant increase to supplementary feed requirements.”

Full report in Tuesday’s Sentinel-Times