A PROPOSED holiday venue created a scene far from relaxing in South Gippsland Shire Council’s chamber last Wednesday.
Proponents and objectors to a host farm at Strzelecki tried to convince council to side with them.
The host farm comprises a house, four cabins, a communal meeting room and an amenities building on 26ha of land zoned farming at 1725 Wild Dog Valley Road.
The property has previously hosted various festivals – including one staged without a permit – and neighbours are concerned such events would be held again.
But one of the proponents, Sean O’Carroll, said hosting the Camp Casual music festival was a mistake in hindsight and promised no further music festivals would be held.
The host farm will be considered by council at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) council meeting.
Council planners have recommended a permit be issued, with many conditions, including a limit of 20 people at the accommodation at any one time.
The proponents are two families, represented at council by permaculture teacher Andrew Faulknor and psychotherapist Sean O’Carroll.
“We hope to provide a living, breathing example of a sustainable farm,” Mr O’Carroll said.
The host farm proposes visitors will tend to a ‘subtropical food forest’ and orchard, manage animals, ride horses, maintain a vegetable garden and wood lot, collect firewood and catch fish.
About half of the property – primarily steep land – will be revegetated to control erosion.
Council received eight objections to the proposal. Among those worried are Robyn Bowen and Dr Peter Hillard, who farm next to the land.
They are concerned about effluent disposal, impacts on soil quality, land being removed from farming and contamination of Wild Dog Creek if the effluent system fails.
Car parking, increased traffic and noise, and decreased land values were also issues.
Ms Bowen said during the Camp Casual Festival, at least 440 people attended and noise could be heard 2km away until 2am. He said a laser light show beamed lights around their property until early in the morning.
They are concerned such infringements of their rights could continue if the host farm was built, and affect their beef business.
Dr Hillard questioned the legitimacy of the tag ‘host farm’.
“There is no farm there now and I would have thought that a farm would have been a prerequisite for a host farm,” he said.
He questioned the adequacy of a proposed permit condition to require weeds to be controlled only annually.
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