There was an outcry in the public gallery at City of Whittlesea’s council meeting last week as councillors debated the future of a proposed poultry farm in Eden Park.
Members of the gallery raised signs objecting to the farm while councillors considered the planning permit application for the Fifth Avenue property.
Cr Tom Joseph proposed to defer the decision on the basis that not enough information had been submitted regarding the affect the farm would have on surrounding residents.
“We can’t make an informed decision without expert reports,” Cr Joseph said.
“We need to make decisions according to local laws, I thought the reports put forward were insufficient.”
Cr Sam Alessi agreed with the deferral acknowledging that the planning permit was a contentious issue.
“I’m concerned about the waste field – it’s important we have more information put forward, it must be upfront,” Cr Alessi said.
Cr Caz Monteleone said while he had not made a decision on the planning permit, he was concerned with the amount of hoops council would force the applicant to go through to request further expert reports.
“We’ve had hospitals built on tips before, we’re making them jump through too many hoops for just a chook farm,” Cr Monteleone said.
“I’m worried about deterring other agricultural businesses – this will prevent other applicants coming forward – we need to reduce the red tape.”
The public gallery booed at Cr Monteleone’s comments causing Mayor, Lawrie Cox to ask the gallery to settle down.Cr Norm Kelly stood up asking councillors, “how do you determine if it affects neighbouring properties?”
“What about the pests and vermin? I sure wouldn’t want to be sharing a fence with them,” he said.
Eden Park resident Kerry Stewart told the North Central Review she was disappointed with the poor effort in community consultation.
“I would have thought that – considering there were 49 objections and 51 signatures on a petition that they would not have gone ahead and sent this off to the council meeting without any consultation,” she said.
Ms Stewart lives 450 metres from the proposed poultry farm and said her notification was received by mail the day after the council meeting.
“It was mailed on Friday by normal post, council need to express post so people can actually be there,” she said.
“I know what the winds are like in Eden Park, we’re concerned about the smell, vermin and air borne diseases.
”The applicant must now provide council with a detailed land management plan, environmental management plan, waste management plan, nutrient management plan, risk assessment report including likely emission of noise and odour, a traffic management plan and a report on Aboriginal overlay.
Cr Rick Kirkham also requested that council provide a level of assurance to represent residents should the applicant appeal the matter with VCAT at a later date.
The applicant did not respond to the Whittlesea Review’s request for comment.