Off the broil
SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has voted to refuse a planning permit for a 400,000 bird broiler farm at Wooreen after receiving 159 objections to the proposal.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, councillors moved the proposal would cause unreasonable loss of amenity and have an adverse impact on road safety.
The motion to refuse the proposal was successful, six votes to three.
The application could still go before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), should the applicant wish to appeal council’s decision.
Voting against the motion, Cr Meg Edwards said council should base its decision on whether the application meets the planning requirements.
She said if council refused the application, it would send a “loud, clear message that we are closed for business”.
“Taking this to VCAT will be a drawn out process and the risk of it being approved is high. It could end up with fewer conditions that are on it at the moment,” she said.
“The application complies…we need to base our decision on the planning permit application. South Gippsland is open for business.”
Cr Lorraine Brunt voted against the motion to refuse the permit because the application was within the guidelines of council’s planning department.
She said the 33 conditions placed on the planning permit would have dealt with many of the community’s concerns.
“All farms make noise, dust and odour. If we are going to live in a rural area, we must accept that,” she said.
Cr Aaron Brown also voted against the motion.
“I believe I must support (the application) due to the conditions in place,” he said.
Voting in favour of the motion, Cr Andrew McEwen said the broiler farm would impact on the amenity of the local community.
He said the council was within its rights to refuse the application.
“It is unsuitable for this particular site,” he said.
Cr Alyson Skinner agreed the development was not suited to the area.
She also questioned the economic benefit to the shire and said there was no way of guaranteeing local jobs.
“There was no social licence to support this application,” she said.
While he believed agriculture was important to the region, Cr Jeremy Rich was not sure this type of agricultural production was suitable.
“This particular growth is not a reflection of our vision for the shire, sustainable and sensitive development,” he said.
Cr Rich said council needed to develop a way of engaging with the community and applicants earlier in the process, to avoid “such divisive situations” in the future.
Mayor Cr Ray Argento said council could do more to identify locations within the shire that were more suitable for broiler farms.
“It is a big shire. There are other alternatives we may need to assist with,” he said.
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