COUNCILLORS have rejected a proposal to build knackery in Jindivick, citing concerns about buffer zones and water quality.
The proposal would have seen year-round use of the site for the disposal of over 200 tonnes of dead animals per year, with waste water from the production of meat for pet food to be stored in settling ponds on the site before being used to fertilise nearby paddocks.
Seven of the eight councillors present at a Baw Baw Shire meeting last week supported a motion by Warragul ward councillor Mikaela Power to reject the plan. Cr Power said an EPA-enforced 500 metre buffer zone which would have overlapped neighbouring properties was a “burden”.
“We’ve heard at length tonight many of the reasons why the community thinks the knackery shouldn’t proceed,” Cr Power said.
“The issues of having a buffer zone that is not within the area that this is operating… places an additional burden [on neighbours].”
North ward councillor David Balfour said he was initially supportive of the idea of the knackery but the buffer zone was unacceptable.
“Months ago I saw this motion coming and thought ‘you beauty’, because we need another knackery around here,” Cr Balfour said.
“Some time ago we discussed the broiler farm out at Modella, and we refused that because of the buffer zone.
“I have extreme problems when we put this 500 metre buffer zone in and it takes in other people’s properties.
I see this is great problem and I don’t believe that… I can support where we are going with this particular knackery.”
But Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson voted against Cr Power’s motion. He said he supported the introduction of the knackery as it met the necessary environmental requirements.
“I see that it ticks most of the boxes,” Cr Williamson said.
“The question is where are you going to put it, and I think it seems to be the theme here is the smell.
“Apparently the EPA, the Department of Agriculture, it has all been checked over and that’s what the buffer zones are, and I can’t see, well you don’t want it in your back yard (sic).”
Almost 20 locals presented the council with objections to the plan at the meeting, centring on the buffer zone and smell in addition to possible impacts on tourism and water quality of nearby streams.
“I reject the buffer zone being over neighbouring properties,” one objector said.
“I have not yet seen the wind stop after 500 metres, but maybe if we allow the knackery nature will look kindly on us.”
“It’s going to end up in [the] waterway,” another objector said.
But a spokesperson for the applicant said the the EPA had deemed the site appropriate.
“Compliance with all the relevant authorities has been met,” the spokesperson said.
“It really needs to be said this application was based on the EPA requirements and we have actually met that, especially the 500 metre buffer. We are over 500 metres away from every building.”
The spokesperson said a knackery they had visited in the Yarra Valley had no negative impact on any surrounding properties.
Warragul ward councillor Joe Gauci successfully moved a motion at the end of the meeting to send a letter to the appropriate state government department asking for buffer zone legislation to be reformed.
Warragul ward councillor Gerard Murphy was not present at the meeting.
Get free email updates from the Baw Baw Citizen
Read more Baw Baw News