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Host farm green light

THE future looks bright for the proponents of the Wild Dog Valley host farm.

Though South Gippsland Shire Council was presented with 117 people objecting the development, council moved to issue a notice of decision to grant a permit on Wednesday, July 22.

Deputy mayor Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said this has been a contentious issue and a challenge for council in many ways.

“As a plan, it’s very straightforward. It has been difficult for councillors to come to a decision due to the number of responses we have received,” he said.

“I visited the proponents on site and two affected residents. What I heard was completely disconnected and showed a lack of communication between both parties – I find it very unfortunate.”

Environmental impacts, increased traffic, noise, lack of visitor restrictions and disruption to the habitat of the Gippsland giant earthworm were just a few of the concerns highlighted by objectors.

“We respect our neighbours concerns, and feel aligned with them in terms of care for the environment,” Mr O’Carroll said.

“Many of the objectors’ arguments display a misunderstanding of our planning application and intentions.  Hopefully with better consultation going forward we can all work together to care for this wonderful valley.”

Cr Lorraine Brunt said she was concerned about the significant risk posed to the waterway and the state of the property.

“The property is a mess and doesn’t create good neighbourly relations,” she said.

“Landowners must have respect and knowledge to control weeds.”

Though the proponents are from Melbourne, they plan to move to Wild Dog Valley to maintain the farm.

“The uncertainty of the last two years around this application has made it difficult to know what lay ahead, and how much time and energy to invest in upkeep and maintenance,” proponent and eco-psychotherapist Sean O’Carroll said.

“Now that we have some certainty, we will be implementing a very intensive weeding regime, along with widespread improvements. Watch this space. The approval of this application will greatly support our capacity to maintain the farm.

The developers will now set about planning to implement the ideas they have worked on for the last two years, since the application was initially crafted.

“We are feeling relieved, delighted, vindicated, and enthusiastic about moving forward and bringing a living example of sustainable farming principles in South Gippsland,” Mr O’Carroll said.

“There are many positives to consider, both culturally and environmentally. Keeping cattle off the block for the last seven years has already created something of a wildlife haven.

“We have a great many koalas, wallabies, wombats, possums, ducks, parrots echidnas, and a thriving colony of giant earthworms.”

The proponents also hope to bring diversity to the district.

“We are well connected to extensive communities of environmentalists, permaculture practitioners, therapists, and artists. We are also well connected to schools and colleges, and see opportunities to educate the young about a better relationship with the environment,” Mr O’Carroll said.

Mr O’Carroll said he intends to invite others to share the experience at Wild Dog Valley.

“Our guests arrive in the valley and exhale deeply. They feel welcomed by us and by the land itself. Wild Dog Valley is a special place in the hearts of many Melbournians. It’s incredibly special,” Mr O’Carroll said.

“We plan to invite others to share in the experience of walking gently on the earth, working on a small scale intensive permaculture farm, and gaining insight into how humanity can live more harmoniously with the other creatures and plants that share this home planet with us.”

Serene location: eco-psychotherapist Sean O’Carroll said Wild Dog Valley is the perfect place to explore sustainable farming principles in South Gippsland. A notice of decision to grant a permit was issued to the host farm proponents at South Gippsland Shire Council’s meeting on Wednesday, July 22.

Serene location: eco-psychotherapist Sean O’Carroll said Wild Dog Valley is the perfect place to explore sustainable farming principles in South Gippsland. A notice of decision to grant a permit was issued to the host farm proponents at South Gippsland Shire Council’s meeting on Wednesday, July 22.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=15649

Posted by on Jul 28 2015. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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