THE DROUIN West Timber and Truss site is one step closer to being rezoned as Industrial 3 despite objections from neighbours.
Baw Baw Shire councillors voted seven to one in favour of requesting planning minister Matthew Guy prepare and approve the amendment, which if granted will allow the timber and truss business to expand.
Drouin West residents spoke against the rezoning at the meeting, but said they were in support of the expansion.
“It’s not about being anti-development… what it is about is the rezoning of the land to Industrial 3,” Drouin West resident Malcolm Jolly told the council.
“By rezoning the land to Industrial 3 it provides the opportunity for a whole diverse range of potential activities.
“We are not implying that the applicant is planning to do these things… but the potential for the future if someone else were to acquire the property to do something different (sic).”
Drouin West Timber and Truss owner Peter Ward told the council he would have to leave the area if he was unable to expand his business to be one of the first in Australia to manufacture prefabricated walls.
“We are operating on the full three blocks now,” Mr Ward said.
“I need to expand my business to do more… that’s the real dilemma, I want to work in [with the] community.
“I can’t just sit here waiting and waiting and waiting.”
Mr Ward said there will be no extra trucks on the road with the expansion and suggested the amenity of the site had improved since the sawmill shut down.
North ward councillor Deborah Brown said the zone was suitable as future changes to the site would have to be approved by the council.
“The industrial 3 zone is suitable because most future use wold be subject to permit, and other restrictions, future planning decisions [are] to be brought to council,” Cr Brown said.
Cr Brown said the applicant would have to cover the cost of such an amendment.
Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson said Mr Ward was “between a rock and a hard place.”
The councillor who opposed the decision, Warragul ward councillor Mikaela Power, said her concerns relate to the process of the change, not the business itself.
“It feels rushed to me,” Cr Power said.
“I think that gives the community cause for concern.
“If this site gets Industrial 3 zoning… the sawmill owner [may potentially] think ‘oh, that’s a good idea.’”
Drouin ward councillor Tricia Jones was not present at the meeting.
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