CONCERNED residents of Leongatha-Yarragon Road at Wooreen and worried neighbours of a proposed 400,000-chicken broiler farm have received the best possible Christmas present.
They’ve just heard that the multi-million dollar project will not be going ahead after all.
In fact, after the sale of the 134.4 hectare property in question, to someone with no interest in broiler farms, and the expiry of the time limit for a VCAT appeal to be lodged; it’s highly likely there’ll never be such a development located there.
The news was music to Deb Brown’s ears, the operator of a number of B’n’B establishments in the area.
“Yes we heard that. Someone did a ring-around about it last week. We’re absolutely delighted that the people who bought the property have completely different ideas about what they want to do with it,” Ms Brown said.
“And they’ve passed the VCAT deadline, which was 60 days after the council made its decision to refuse the permit back in September (September 27, 2017).
“So it’s over but of course they’ll probably be looking somewhere else.”
At the time, council voted 6:3 to refuse the broiler farm permit after receiving 159 submissions against what many called an “industrial” development in an idyllic rural setting.
Among them was former South Gippsland Councillor and Hallston resident David Lewis.
Mr Lewis stressed that odour would most likely be a problem, especially in the hilly location, and in the absence of a proper Environmental Risk Assessment for odour, would leave the council guessing about its impact on neighbours.
He said increased traffic, devaluation of property values, social issues and the lack of employment generated by broiler farms were other negatives.
“If Broiler Farms were large employers perhaps the adverse amenity and social implications would be more acceptable,” Mr Lewis said at the time.
“However, the employment potential is small, and in this case is comparable what it would be if the site was used just for beef and dairy farming,” he said.
“The application gives ongoing site employment as just two persons and one casual. In addition the equivalent of approximately 2.5 full time persons are employed in periodic operations such as stock and feed deliveries and litter removal. However, specialist contractors from outside of the shire will likely meet most of the requirement,” he claimed
The council gave the following as their reasons for refusing:
• Unreasonable loss of amenity, including dust, odour and noise effecting existing sensitive uses in the locality, due to local topography and climate.
• Increase in the volume of large vehicle (truck) traffic and the adverse impact on road safety.
Those who voted against it included: Cr Andrew McEwen, Cr Maxine Kiel, Cr Alyson Skinner, Cr Ray Argento, Cr Jeremy Rich and Cr Don Hill.
Fears that South Gippsland would be the target of broiler farm operators keen to relocate here have not materialised so far but the council promised to look into developing a policy so they will be better prepared next time.
Chicken off the menu for Christmas