Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Noosa Council says NO to the broiler farm


Broiler appeal update

29 July 2016

Dust emitted from a broiler shed at Pumicestone in SE Queensland.

Dust emitted from a broiler shed at Pumicestone in SE Queensland.

Three years ago, the community of Cooroy/Ridgewood learned that an 8-shed chicken meat complex was proposed for our beautiful valley, home to around 200 people. The haul route through the town of Cooroy would affect hundreds more. Since 2012, the applicant has presented various versions of the proposal that have been rejected by the community in over 150 submissions, several public meetings, various petitions, and intense lobbying of the Sunshine Coast Council and the Noosa Council.

Following Noosa Council’s rejection of the application in November last year, the council and the community (represented by two co-respondents) have been preparing to defend the subsequent appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.

‘Without prejudice’ conference date confirmed
All parties involved in the broiler farm appeal have agreed to meet on 11 October 2016 under the auspices of the Registrar of Planning and Environment Court at Maroochydore, to see if any matters can be settled before the Appeal. Involvement in this process does not mean that the parties forgo their right to a trial if the dispute doesn’t settle. The co-respondents’ legal team and expert advisor will take part in this conference, which includes the following participants.

Appearing for the appellant
Donald W Milligan Pty Ltd
Cliff Wurtz – GANTT Legal: Solicitor
Paul King and Ben Hyde: Air quality experts
Steve Williams: Traffic engineering expert

Appearing for the respondents
1. Noosa Shire Council
Kerri Coyle: Manager, Planning & Environment
Wakefield Sykes: Solicitor
Stuart Holland: Traffic expert
Simon Welchman: Noise, air quality expert
John Savery: Noise expert
Shane Anderson: Town planning expert

2. Two co-respondents
Michael Quirk: King & Company: Solicitor
Andrew Martin: Acoustics and air quality expert
Pamela Sweetapple: Barrister and mediator
Julia Walkden: Assistant to co-respondents

3. Queensland Electricity Transmission Corp Ltd (Powerlink)
Corrs Chambers Westgarth: Solicitors

Survey of Local properties
In October 2015, the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries conducted a risk assessment of the broiler farm application, which was used by the Noosa Council planners when assessing the application. This assessment states that “There are 10 sensitive receptors located within a 1.5 km radius of the proposed development”.

In fact, our survey shows that there are at least 45 sensitive receptors within a 1.5 km radius (see map below). We have surveyed the owners of 34 of these properties and the results show:
Adults = 74
Children = 22
Persons with respiratory problems = 12
Vegetable gardens = 27 homes
Fruit trees = 30 homes
Buildings collecting water = 73
Water tanks = 84
Dams = 34
Swimming pools = 10
Solar systems = 12 (3 with hot water systems)
Stock = cattle, horses, goats, chickens, numerous dogs

Fundraising
The co-respondents representing the community have relied on the very generous support of locals to hire a legal team. We now have engaged an expert witness to support our claims about the noise, dust and odour that will directly affect around 200 people living in and around the valley in Ridgewood/Cooroy and many more further away. If you have not yet made a contribution, we ask that you give whatever possible by clicking the donations button on the website.

Note that the Stringybark Cottage Open Weekend fundraiser will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 October.

Broiler appeal conference

16 June 2016

The broiler farm applicant, W Donald Milligan Pty Ltd, has contacted all parties to the appeal to request a ‘without prejudice conference’ at the District Court Complex at Maroochydore.

Early mediation, part of the appeal process, attempts to resolve a dispute before the costly court appeal begins. Mediation, a less formal process than an appeal, can lead to an agreement which may be made an order of the court.

Parties to the appeal are represented by their lawyers and any experts who may be able to help resolve the dispute. If participants fail to reach an agreement, the appeal would proceed in the usual way.

t for 11 OctoberNoosa Council and the community co-respondents have agreed to attend, and a hearing has been set for 11 October.

Help the community be represented in the appeal

10 April 2016

Election results
The West Cooroy community welcomes the election of Tony Wellington, a staunch opponent of the broiler farm proposal, as the new mayor. Before the election we asked prospective councillor candidates for a pre-poll commitment to fully support the resolve and intention of the outgoing council to defend this appeal in the best way possible. All elected councillors, except Cr Pardon and Cr Glasgow replied in the affirmative.

Fundraising

On Saturday, 2 April, at 181 Forest Acres Drive, lake Macdonald, we held a successful fundraising garage sale.

In the past six weeks, the Ridgewood/Cooroy community has raised over $10,000 to assist two local co-respondents who are joining with Council to defend the appeal. As a result, Michael Quirk, a partner in the Brisbane law firm King & Company, has been engaged to represent them. It didn’t take long to raise the funds, because the local opposition to this appalling proposal is as strong as ever.

In early October, we will be holding a weekend open garden at Cheryl and Bob Boyd’s magnificent and highly acclaimed Verrierdale garden, Stringybark Cottage. Nestled among a woodland of blackbutt, stringybark and tallowwood, the Boyd’s garden has been described as one of Queensland’s most delightful gardens. There will be gourmet food and plants for sale, as well as a fantastic raffle

 

 

Community joins with Council to defend appeal

24 January 2016

This week, three Noosa Shire residents joined with the Noosa Council as co-respondents in the Planning and Environment Court appeal against the council’s decision to refuse the Cooroy broiler farm development application. This important step enables the community to participate in the hearings and to present original evidence in support of Council’s case.

The applicant will be challenging the Council’s reasons for refusal, which include: non-compliance with several overall outcomes of The Noosa Plan; insufficient separation distance from surrounding residences and properties; odour modelling anomalies; loss of amenity to nearby residents; adverse traffic impacts on the existing road network and on the amenity of residents; adverse impacts on the local scenic amenity; and the potential for unacceptable levels of dust, other particulates and ammonia.

Courtmaroochydore

The legal process
The applicant must apply for a directions order within three months of filing the notice of appeal. This application will be filed in the Maroochydore court and a date will be set for a hearing before a judge. At the directions hearing, the court will issue a directions order, which sets out the steps the parties must take and when. These orders usually include a Dispute Resolution Plan.

The second hearing is a review hearing, where all parties are expected to tell the court: 1. whether they have complied with the directions orders, and if they haven’t, why not; 2. when the outstanding matters will be attended to; and 3. whether the case will be ready for the final hearing.

The third hearing is a callover hearing, where a judge allocates a fixed hearing date. This is usually held a few weeks prior to the start of the final hearing.

The final hearing, which will determine the result of the appeal, is held once all the steps in the direction order have been followed.

As you can see, the process is lengthy and expensive for all concerned. We should attend as many court sessions as possible, to show the judge that there is widespread community interest.

Keepcalmlawyer

Fundraising
To date we have raised several thousand dollars for various advices and actions, but to effectively support Council in defending their decision, we will need to raise tens of thousands of dollars. There’s no way we can do this action without significant funding.

Money is not needed right now, since we have received some initial legal advice without cost, but we will be forming a fundraising committee and intend to open a trust account specifically for legal costs and the expenses necessary to hire expert witnesses who will support our case. Fortunately, we have a highly respected local auditor who has agreed to ensure these funds are managed appropriately and all monies accounted for.

We will be looking for pledges in the future, but if you have good ideas for raising funds, please contact us.

 

Broiler farm appeal lodged

4 January 2016

Lawyers acting for W Donald Milligan Pty Ltd delivered a Notice of Appeal to the Planning and Environment Court in Maroochydore and to Noosa Council on 30 December 2015. Due to a court holiday, the Notice was not officially filed until 4 January 2016. You can read the document HERE.

It is expected that a Noosa Council staff report will come before councillors in February, when a course of action will be decided upon.

More details soon.

Noosa Council votes to reject the application


16 November 2015

CouncilVoteAfter three years of deliberations, proposal revisions, and conflicting scientific reports, and spanning two councils, Noosa councillors meeting with the General Committee meeting this morning voted to reject the Cooroy broiler farm application. The motion, to be ratified at the 19 November Ordinary Meeting, was carried  six votes to one.

Proposing the motion before a packed gallery, Cr Wellington said planners had this time chosen to ignore some of their previous recommendations including visual amenity and aspects of the dust and odour pollution. He also questioned whether some of the effects on health had been taken into account. Mayor Playford noted that approval would diminish residents quality of life and Cr Jurisevic was particularly concerned with the chance ammonia pollution in the local waterways. Cr Wilkie was not satisfied that the conditions placed by the planners could be enforced, while Cr Bolton was concerned about residents living on the haul route, and Cr Pardon indicated his opposition to intensive agriculture in rural residential areas. Only Cr Abbot voted to accept the planners’ report.

Too many problems
No Broiler Farm Cooroy (NBFC), the local group opposing the application, has repeatedly claimed that this inappropriate proposal would be a huge source of dust and odour pollution, and that the local road network was totally inadequate for the heavy vehicle traffic proposed. As well as having such a minor economic benefit to the community, and a negative impact on the town of Cooroy, the proposal always had the potential to pollute local waterways.

NBFC co-convenor Rod Ritchie said: “It is with great relief that the community hears this news. The stress and distress that this application has caused has been massive. Residents have had to put their lives and plans on hold awaiting a decision, have seen property values decline, in some cases losing the rights to fully utilise their land, potentially have their drinking water contaminated, and the possibility of having to live with incessant noise, and with regular pollution events.”

“Once you get one broiler farm approved, more inevitably would follow, so thank goodness councillors have voted with the interests of the overwhelming majority in mind”.

The reasons for refusal are:
1. The proposed poultry farm does not comply with the Overall Outcomes of The Noosa Plan’s Mary River Catchment Locality, Agricultural Uses and Transport, Roads and Drainage Codes;
2. The proposed poultry farm does not achieve sufficient separation distance from surrounding residences and properties, so as to avoid adverse odour impacts on amenity;
3. The odour modelling carried out by the applicant does not provide sufficient assurance that nearby residents will not be adversely impacted by odour;
4. The proposal will result in actual and perceived loss of amenity to nearby residents;
5. Traffic generated by the development will have significant adverse impacts on the existing road network and on the amenity of residents living along the haul route, as the route traverses Cooroy’s residential streets and bird collection will occur during normal sleeping hours;
6. The proposed sheds and earthworks necessary for shed construction are likely to adversely impact on the scenic amenity of the area, as the applicant has not demonstrated that they will integrate satisfactorily with the landform and landscape; and
7. It has not been clearly demonstrated that the proposed poultry farm will not generate unacceptable levels of dust, other particulates and ammonia that may impact on the amenity of nearby residents and/or have adverse environmental outcomes.

Local economy back on track
The decision is a boost for the local economy as development projects on hold are now given the green light. One of these, the $2 million Tamarind eco-cottage development in Pines Rd, Cooroy, now looks like it will go ahead. On hearing the news, project developer Pamela Sweetapple said: “I was worried that the broiler farm would have a significant effect on a new business that was relying on people looking for a quiet and scenic rural destination. Like many other business people, I could see nothing but negatives for Cooroy and its future as a vibrant tourist town if inappropriate developments with virtually no local economic benefits are allowed”.

While the applicant would be considering his legal options, given the strength of local opposition and the costs involved, he would be wise to accept Noosa Council’s decision.

Biosphere not Broilersphere


BroilerMeeting12111512 November Meeting a Success
The town meeting to convince councillors to vote to reject the application was moved from the Memorial Hall to the RSL Club next-door. Over 200 people turned out to listen to a Q&A session on the application’s many anomolies. 

We have sent a list of questions for councillors to ask the planners on Monday 16 November at the General Meeting where the decision will be discussed. Read the one-page document HERE.

One of the messages from the evening was that, once you have one broiler farm, more will follow. There are very many communities suffering from existing operations and Noosa does not need to become one of these. Read their stories HERE.

Properly sited in flat land close to good traffic routes, and well away from communities or environmental areas may be fine, but the Cooroy proposal is not one of those. It will both restrict the Shire’s future rural options and be a negative factor for our valuable tourist industry. The Sunshine Coast Daily publishes our article HERE.

Julia Walkden has written a critique of the last four planners’ decisions. Read it HERE.

Council General Meeting

Councillors

At 10am on Monday 16 November, councillors will decide on a motion to accept or refuse the development application.

It’s important to attend this meeting to show the councillors that there is widespread opposition to the broiler farm.

You can hear the councillors debate the issues and learn how they will be voting on the application.

This is a crucial time, so please pass this email on to your friends and family. Please, wherever you live, make an effort to attend both meetings.

Council planners recommend approval

5 November
You can read from the Planning Committee agenda on pages 19 to 55 HERE that
Noosa Council planners have recommended that the broiler farm be approved, with a list of conditions, including the following:

Upgrade Top Forestry Road at the applicant’s expense, including maintenance for one year. This includes widening and sealing of the existing road pavement to a width sufficient to allow two heavy vehicles to pass and 7m on one bend.
Spent litter and poultry manure must not be stored, stockpiled or spread on the site at any time.
All sheds and associated structures must be finished with subdued external building colours, so as to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
Dense screening vegetation to a 20m wide strip along the perimeters of each shed and associated structures, with appropriate plantings along the batters.
Heavy vehicles travelling along the haul route must be limited to between the hours of 6am until 7pm, seven days per week.
All trafficable areas on site must be sealed.
Shed litter must be completely replaced in each poultry shed at the end of each batch.
The design and construction of the shed flooring system must be concrete.
Restrictive odour covenants on the applicant’s properties 124, 146, 172 and 224 Top Forestry Rd.

Not good enough
The decision will be discussed by councillors at the General Meeting on 16 November before being voted on at the 19 November Ordinary Council Meeting.

Since councillors can reject a planners’ report, we will be working hard to let councillors know the many reasons why they should vote against the application.

New petitions presented to Council

30 August. Noosa residents support us

Our previous petition (tabled in November 2014) contained 220 signatures from residents living along the proposed haul route, who opposed the broiler farm.

On Thursday 27 August, two additional petitions containing a total of 505 signatures of residents living in the Noosa Shire, outside the area affected by the haul route were presented to Council. These petitions show the depth of opposition to this proposal within the wider Noosa Shire.

Decision time delayed

21 August. Community prepares for final lobbying

AreaMapNoosa Council may not make a decision on the broiler farm application until November, at the earliest, due to ongoing negotiations over the latest revisions to the application. If this application was nearer the coast it would have been rejected at the outset of council/developer negotiations. Because it is right on the Shire boundary, people in the hinterland feel they have been forgotten by those in power, despite presenting a raft of valid planning-code assessable objections over the past two years.

Because odour and dust modelling is an inexact science, we are keen for Council to understand that the applicant’s contour predictions for dust and odour should be subject to more scrutiny. Consequently, we have just made a new submission on the topic HERE.

And because we are concerned about the biosecurity risks for the Shire, a local agricultural scientist, Alan Coates, presented a submission on this important topic HERE.

When we know for sure that a planning staff recommendation is imminent, we plan to let Noosa Councillors know that we expect they will uphold the core environmental values Noosa is renown for and reject this totally inappropriate proposal for the following reasons.

Roads and traffic
Already inadequate roads are expected to carry heavy vehicles including 19m B-doubles. These roads are used as cycle training routes and are stretched to cater for existing traffic. Every journey on our roads will come with huge potential risks. The proposal for upgrading Top Forestry Rd is for a substandard job.

Pollution
Since the applicant is unable to keep the proposed dust and odour impacts within his boundary, Council is trying to determine just how many neighbours and surrounding properties must suffer from the effects of shed dust and smells that are extracted from the eight one-hundred metre long sheds.

Noise
Because the applicant wants to clear the sheds of grown birds from 2am, and take the them via inadequate local roads, including through residential streets of Cooroy, to the Brisbane processing plant, hundreds of residents will have their sleep disrupted.

Organic waste
Because the factory farm would become the second largest producer of organic waste in Noosa Shire, there must be some indication of where this toxic waste will end up.

Road Rebuild Proposal Below Council Standards

July 30 2015: Community presents objections to the latest application revisions

BusTFRd

The school bus on Top Forestry Road

Read our latest submission to Noosa Council HERE.

Our roads expert has found many disparities between the works proposed by the applicant and the Council’s planning requirements, including road widths, road/pavement design standards, and the capacity for existing underlying sub-grade material to support the proposed design life and traffic loadings.

As well, the applicant has still not addressed the ability of the local roads to support the increased heavy vehicle traffic along the haul route from Top Forestry Road through Cooroy to the highway. Since any infrastructure agreement would inevitably leave ratepayers with huge maintenance and repair bills for years to come, we will be urging the council to refuse the application.

ShedDust copy

Shed dust plumes from a SEQ broiler farm

Odour and dust to be dispersed on neighbouring properties

While the applicant has plans to covenant several of his adjoining blocks as a ‘buffer zone’, this action avoids having to include these properties in the pollution modelling. However, this is will do little to protect his neighbours to the south. And adjoining properties to the west, north and east would effectively become buffer zones, with these residents having to wear the adverse effects of dust and odour from the eight huge broiler sheds at their own personal and financial expense.

How the community loses out
We well understand how the community is disadvantaged when a broiler farm is placed in its midst.
Repercussions include:
• Airborne emissions, dust and odour, affecting amenity and health.
• Insufficient separation distances to protect our homes.
• Contamination of tank water on which we wholly depend.
• Inadequate roads carrying heavy vehicles.
• Ever present shed noise and disturbance from early morning traffic.
• Environmental damage from emissions and waste disposal.
• Loss of rights associated with the use of our land.
• Harming our local tourism industry.
• Devaluing our property values.

Revised Application Still a Huge Fail

June 15 2015: Time to re-state community opposition to this inappropriate proposal

DemoThumbAfter eight months, the applicant has finally answered questions Council asked of him in September 2014. The new material can be found on the Council website HERE.

The latest version of the development application addresses just one of Noosa Council’s many concerns by agreeing to seal Top Forestry Road. While dust from this road may not be an issue, the upkeep of the road will be a burden to ratepayers for many years to come due to the minimal specifications proposed for the road reconstruction. And the eight-shed broiler complex would still be a huge source of dust, noise and odour. The applicant’s refusal to change the haul route means heavy vehicles would still be using inadequate rural roads, including the narrow, winding Cooroy-Belli Creek Road, and the town streets of Maple, Crystal and Myall. Important traffic safety and amenity issues remain, and the rest of the community will be just as affected.

As well, the following issues are still unresolved
1. The proposal does not comply with the overall outcomes of aspects of the Noosa Plan.
2. Heavy vehicles will still have significant adverse impacts on the amenity of residents living along the haul route.
3. Chicken pick-up times are still planned for the early hours of the morning.
4. Odour impacts for surrounding nearby properties still not properly assessed.
5. The proposal still does not achieve sufficient separation distance from surrounding residences and properties.
6. The earthworks necessary for shed construction will still adversely impact on the scenic amenity of the area.
7. There are still no details on the route and destination for the large volumes of toxic organic waste produced annually.

Our commissioned report dated 4 March 2015 titled ‘Critique of the Chicken Meat Industry Science’ details many other concerns and it can be read HERE.

Limited economic benefits
Cooroy, fast evolving into a desirable, prosperous and vibrant town with a tourism future, does not need the stigma of ‘broiler town’ spread around social media as its reputation is trashed for the economic benefit of one landowner. The couple of jobs created once such a facility is constructed is well offset by the loss of employment and spending in the wide zone the Ridgewood operation potentially affects.


Listen to residents who were told “all will be well”

Chickens on their way to be processed.

Chickens on their way to be processed.

We are regularly contacted by residents living near broiler farms in other Queensland districts. and they give us the opposite view to that presented to councillors shown a model working chicken meat farm at Beaudesert.

Noosa councillors and planners should talk to people living within impact zones of other broiler farms (see testimonials page). This would be sufficient to ensure that MCU 12/0184 continues to be recommended for refusal.

Noosa Council must recognise the many defects that still remain in this application, note the major unresolved issues which have the potential to jeopardise the future of Cooroy, and stand by local residents who risk a future with diminished lifestyles, on basically unsellable properties.

 

Ready for the next stage

April 2015: Fundraising campaign a success

Thanks for making the environment report fundraising effort a success. We never decide lightly to engage consultants, but we know that state planning legislation requires councils to abide by a set of planning guidelines when it comes to assessing applications, so we need to blow the whistle when suspect science is presented.

All of us are frustrated that the broiler farm applicant keeps changing his proposal methodology, and is continuously very late in getting requested material to Council. However, this has allowed us extra time to present new material and to further lobby those councillors who might think the couple of jobs the proposal would create outweighs the obvious disadvantages to the local community.

Rest assured, though, that whenever the application resurfaces, we’ll be there in opposition.

Unresolved matters continue

March 2015 Update

Council is still waiting for the broiler farm developer to satisfactorily answer information requests that go back to September 2014 and beyond, including traffic and roads issues, alternative haul routes, odour impacts and an infrastructure agreement. These matters must be resolved before the application can be assessed by council planning staff and voted on by Noosa’s councillors.

ShedVentilatorsSmallIn December 2014, we commissioned Katestone Environmental to review of the odour and dust modeling. This consultant has extensive experience in odour modeling issues related to the poultry industry, and in the resulting Review they concluded that the modeling should have been done using site-specific weather data, considering the unique topography of the area.

This week, we presented Council a critique of the guidelines that are used to assess poultry farm development applications, with comments from a former Queensland Government pollution scientist, who has worked with community groups and Queensland local councils, attempting to formulate best-practice guidelines for chicken meat farms. You can read the submission HERE.

Impacts are ignored
Over the nearly two years that we have been researching this development application, we have been in contact with many groups in a similar situation and have gained a good understanding of the application approval process. The State Government and the broiler farm industry continue to ignore the high-impact problems that affect communities unfortunate enough to have chicken farms approved for their area.

The industry has powerful lobbyists presenting their case to politicians, and in the case of the chicken meat processor Inghams Enterprises, huge donations to both major political parties are listed on the AEC records, In 2012-2013, for instance, they donated $250,000 each to the Liberal Party and the ALP. Over a ten-year period, about $2.25 million has been donated to both parties.

SpentLitterLoadingSmallWe have also discovered that after broiler shed complexes are approved, dust and odour problems are ongoing for nearby properties and for those unfortunate enough to live along the haul routes. We’ve been in touch with people who tried to stop broiler farm developments, to see what the situation is now. You can check the latest broiler farm neighbour testimonials HERE.

We know that the overwhelming majority of Cooroy residents oppose this application and we are certain that when the council receives answers to the list of information requests, it will ultimately reject the application. But meanwhile there appears to be a stalemate situation.

Councillors petitioned on Cooroy broiler farm traffic issues

12 December Update

We are the majority
What may have started as a group of nearby residents desperately trying to stop an inappropriate development that they were not properly notified about has escalated into a battle to prove the widespread economic, social and environmental problems arising from the mega broiler farm proposal. Our recent petition of those living on the haul route showed that we have over 90 per cent support from locals.

Since there has been no response from the applicant to Council’s 22 September request, and because the answers will need appraisal by Council staff and the community,  it is unlikely that the application will be decided before the March 2015 ordinary meeting.

Because this application has never included scientifically assessed data on the full range of potential broiler farm impacts, and because it keeps being amended, council and local residents have had to continually seek further and or better information on a range of issues.

Watch our traffic video and check out our response to the applicant’s traffic report HERE.

Check the latest broiler farm neighbour testimonial HERE.

View of the proposed broiler farm from a northern neighbour

View of the proposed broiler farm from a northern neighbour

Further matters for consideration requested at the 22 September Council Meeting
• Improvements to Top Forestry Rd.
• An alternative haul route.
• Alternative chicken pick-up times.
• Odour impacts on five properties.
• An infrastructure Agreement.

Other issues not yet fully addressed include:

1. Noise and odour modelling that takes in the unique topography and common temperature inversions.
2. Site operations effects 24 hours, not just daytime.
3. Lack of on-site dust modelling.
4. Miscalculations, contradictory data and omissions on traffic data.
5. Details of litter removal and shed cleaning process.

Better scientific methodology needed
As we go to another year without a decision, it’s worth remembering that the main reasons for the delays for the decision have been consistently changing applications, tardy responses to council requests for information, and a total lack of communication between the applicant and the local community. But, since we also understand that the current Council requests for information could produce a planning report that goes against us, we continue to look for information that proves to Council that this application is based on poor scientific methodology.

We also need to convince a couple of Noosa councillors who appear to be supporting the broiler farm proposal that they must seriously consider all aspects of this flawed application and really listen to community concerns.

21 November 2014 Update

Transport route petition presented – we need your help again

We completed a petition from residents living along the transport route who object to the proposal. We have found that support for us is running at over four to one in our favour. In the town we have over 50% support and a massive 92% of those living on the way to the broiler farm site.

The petition was tabled by Cr Jurisevic on 20 November, and councillors can now see that the great majority of people want councillors to reject the application.

Please sign our new online petition
We now need other people living in the Noosa Shire to sign our online petition which you can do at the top right of this page.

Please sign now and encourage all those shire residents you know to also sign before we close the petition in late January.

30 October 2014 Update

Again we await the applicant

This is all too familiar, but we now have to wait for the applicant to provide the further information requested at the 22 September Council meeting. If last time is anything to go by, it may take months to hear the results of the request, but we are planning for the eventuality that the matter may come before the 18 December Council meeting.

Meanwhile, we have received a disturbing testimonial from people unfortunate enough to be located near a chicken meat farm in Far North Queensland and you can read their account by clicking on the Testimonial button on the top right of your screen.

22 September Update
Application is still incomplete

Today Noosa Councillors voted to defer a decision on the broiler farm application until further information is received.

Nearly 18 months after we first learned about this inappropriate  proposal, the applicant is still trying to convince local government authorities that it is suitable for approval. Concerns about the haul route to the highway remain, since it has always been obvious that the inaccessible location on unsealed, dangerous back roads in the Shire, along with disruption to residential street amenity in Cooroy are almost insurmountable challenges. And the requirement that an alternative haul route be found that doesn’t impact the town of Cooroy means the only option would be an extra hour’s drive to the processor (along a narrow, winding road with black spots) in addition to a trip that is at the limit of its distance from the processing works already.

Dust emitted from a broiler shed at Pumicestone in SE Queensland.

Dust emitted from a broiler shed at Pumicestone in SE Queensland.

Council continues to be concerned that it will be landed with huge road maintenance bills, have no way of solving the odour issues that will certainly arise, and can really not condition noise and dust problems. Requests to move the bird removals to daylight hours will likely be resisted by Inghams and, again, will be difficult for Council to condition. Finally, the necessity of sealing of Top Forestry Road would make an already financially precarious venture uneconomic.

We are being asked by some Councillors to prove that there will be any dust and odour associated with the proposal. The video HERE from a similar SE Queensland operation clearly shows why local residents are concerned.

Noosa Council has requested the applicant address the following:

A. Identify measures to mitigate dust nuisance for residents living along Top Forestry Road and minimise road maintenance requirements such as sealing of Top Forestry Road;

B. Investigate whether an alternative haul route can be used that does not include the residential streets of Cooroy (Maple Street and Crystal Street) and is suitable for heavy vehicles;

C. Confirm whether chicken pick-up times can be limited to day time only (6am to 7pm);

D. Identify how unacceptable odour impacts on future residents of 124, 146, 172 and 224 Top Forestry Road may be addressed; and

E. Provide an Infrastructure Agreement that includes all proposed road works and/or maintenance measures to be undertaken to Top Forestry Road to address road safety, amenity and maintenance issues and where appropriate odour measures for 124, 146, 172 and 224 Top Forestry Road.

 JUST RELEASED
Our economist, Dick Barnes, has produced a three-page report on the negative economic effects on Cooroy and district should the broiler farm be approved. You can download the PDF HERE.

11 September Update
Council planners recommend refusal
Planning staff have now delivered their report to councillors and have recommended that the application be refused for the following reasons:

1. The proposed poultry farm does not comply with the Overall Outcomes of The Noosa Plan’s Mary River Catchment Locality, Agricultural Uses and Transport, Roads and Drainage Codes;

2. The proposed poultry farm does not achieve sufficient separation distance from surrounding residences and properties, so as to avoid adverse odour impacts on amenity;

3. The development will result in unacceptable impacts on Top Forestry Road, as the proposed road improvements are not sufficient to provide the necessary safe environment and will result in an unacceptable road maintenance burden for Council;

4. Traffic generated by the development will have significant adverse impacts on the amenity of residents living along the haul route, as Top Forestry Road is unsealed, the route traverses Cooroy’s residential streets and bird collection commences at 2:30am; and

5. The proposed sheds and earthworks necessary for shed construction are likely to adversely impact on the scenic amenity of the area, as the applicant has not demonstrated that they will integrate satisfactorily with the landform and landscape.

We are nearly there
The decision, along with detailed reasons, has been posted on the Council website as part of the 25 September Council meeting agenda HERE. Noosa Councillors will vote on the issue at their monthly meeting on 25 September.

While we are assuming that Noosa Councillors will support their planning staff recommendations, we are emailing them to let them know why this extremely inappropriate development application should be rejected.
We will also be attending the October Council meetings to ensure the decision process meets community expectations for what has been a lengthy battle and a stressful time for West Cooroy residents.
 .
Noosa Council Meeting

Noosa Council Meeting

STOP PRESS: Despite the planners’ report, we gather some Councillors may vote to approve this application.

IMPORTANT: We need to lobby them. ACT NOW.

What you can do
1. Email all councillors (click the link at the top right of this page) and let them know why this extremely inappropriate development should be rejected.

2. Attend the council meeting at the council chambers in Tewantin at 6pm on 25 September.

 

Watch our video on how traffic issues would affect urban and rural Cooroy.

1 August Update
Applicant submits new material
After seven months, the applicant has submitted new material on this application to Noosa Council for their consideration. This means that it will have to assess a proposal that contains yet more changes, and decide if it meets state and local government guidelines for such developments.

The new traffic report can be viewed HERE and the new noise, dust, odour material can be downloaded from the Council site HERE. Fortunately, Noosa Council planning department are accepting submissions on the new proposal up to 29 August.

Some of the changes
• The application now proposes that the complex be constructed as a two stage development. Stage 1 will comprise five sheds, with the further three sheds to be added later.
• The proposed stocking density of 18.5 birds per square metre is to be reduced to 16.7 birds per square metre, which will result in a capacity of around 230,000 birds at any one time.
• No stockpiling and composting of the poultry manure would be undertaken on the property. Waste generated by the sheds would be removed via various un-named local roads to un-named destinations. New shed litter deliveries would further add to the extra traffic load.

FeedTruck2Traffic and road changes
• No bituminisation of Top Forestry Rd for safety, road protection, or dust amelioration.
• Minor widening of Top Forestry Rd in some sections only, and a proposal for a narrowed, one-lane section of road controlled by give way signs.
• Proposal for roadside vegetation to be cleared to allow site distance for on-coming traffic.
• No mention of the many effects on Cooroy town residents and the use of the inadequate and busy Cooroy-Belli Creek Rd for heavy vehicle usage.
• The new traffic report equates extra heavy vehicles with light vehicles for traffic counts, thus excluding the much greater affects of the total weight increase the heavy traffic has on roads designed for light traffic.

Noise, dust and odour pollution
• Noise modelling data that excludes the obvious effects on many district residences and is not based on site-specific meteorological data.
• Odour emission modelling which is not based on site-specific meteorological data.
• Dust modelling that fails to take into account the health effects of contaminated air and pollution of drinking water supplies.

Residents can present submissions
The revised proposal is worse for local residents than the previous proposal since it involves yet more heavy vehicle traffic. It remains grossly oversized, would be a continual source of pollution for locals and tourists, and is a totally inappropriate industry for Cooroy and district.

Council is engaging consultants to review the noise and air quality report. There also needs to be an independent traffic consultant engaged to check the yet again revised traffic data and road usage.

ShedDust

Lobbying Councillors
Until Noosa Councillors have been briefed by their planning department staff on the project, it is neither appropriate nor ethical to lobby individual Councillors. However, submissions to the planning staff on new aspects of the proposal will be accepted.

Details on when it is OK to email Councillors will be posted on this site in September.

 

 

 

7 July Update

Applicant given a deadline by Noosa Council
After six months of waiting for the further information that was requested by SCRC in December, Noosa Council has written to the applicant setting a deadline of 31 July to provide the new material.

If this material is not received, the existing application will be presented to the August round of Council meetings in its present form. The letter can be viewed HERE.

10 June Update
Applicant finally plans to deliver fresh information to Noosa Council
Noosa News reported today that the applicant intends to answer outstanding questions in relation to the broiler farm application that were requested by the previous Council in December 2013.

Material that needs to be presented includes extra details on the proposed road upgrades and proposed infrastructure agreement; additional odour modelling for the litter, stockpiles and sheds (original material had only been predicted on 12-hour cycles rather than the necessary 24-hour cycles); resident’s amenity in relation to live bird pick-ups in the night; and an acceptable plan for the property residences that were never accounted for in the original environmental modelling.

Stay tuned for an analysis of any new material that gets presented to Council. Meanwhile watch our new video below.

18 February Update

Noosa Council Gives Applicant a Three-month Extension
The applicant has been given a extra three months to present the further information that was requested at the December 12 meeting of SCRC. This presumably includes extra details on the proposed infrastructure agreement and further odour modelling along with a different plan for overcoming usage of the property residences that were deemed un-livable under the current proposal.

Also, the applicant has not exercised his rights to a deemed refusal, which would send the proposal to the planning and environment court.

Some observations
• Council planning staff are being overly lenient with time limits on this application. Meanwhile, local residents and those on the transit route through Cooroy have to live with three more months of uncertainty.
• Court is a risky option for the applicant since Council has not been able to assess the application properly due to lack of information provided by the applicant.
• If this application gets moving again, our group will start planning a fresh campaign to ensure it is rejected by Council.
• Cooroy’s economy suffers as landowners and householders hold back on spending on property improvements while they  await the outcome of this totally inappropriate development application.

The new Noosa Council meets for the first time.

The new Noosa Council meets for the first time.

2 January 2014
New Noosa Council meets
The new council met for the first time on 2 January to elect a deputy mayor and make decisions on the Tewah landing strip and kerbside collections. Although the broiler farm application was not on the agenda, we have  provided an information pack for the new councillors (VIEW HERE) to explain that, besides the issues of road safety and odour, there are significant pollution problems with shed dust, potential noise problems which have largely been unreported and under-researched, and serious issues of water pollution from the composting and litter spreading which will likely impact  landowners downstream as well as local endangered frog species.

Once the developer responds to the request for further information requested at the 12 December SCRC meeting we will post our analysis on the site.

Our Position is Now Stronger
1. If the developer appeals this decision based on a ‘deemed refusal’, he’ll be against Noosa Council in court and face a tough battle given the many grounds on which this project continues to fail.

2. If the developer pushes ahead with the current application, the new council will likely not approve it given that planning staff have repeatedly recommended rejection and that its flawed location presents insurmountable obstacles to running a successful and neighbour-friendly broiler farm operation.

3. If the developer puts in an application for a new proposal, it will be open to public submissions and there will likely be a thousand properly made submissions this time.

4. We have reserved our rights to take legal action on the placing of DA signs on the Top Forestry Road property. More on this can be found HERE.

Demo
12 December 2013

Broiler Farm Application Decision Deferred by SCRC 
On 12 December a packed gallery at the Tewantin Council Chambers heard passionate debate by councillors, at the last meeting with Noosa as part of the SCRC, on the application which ended in a vote of 8 to 4 to defer the West Cooroy broiler farm application. This means it will come before the new Noosa Council for a decision some time in the new year. The SCRC planning staff again recommended refusal of the application. Read their report HERE.

Tony Wellington again presented a strong case against the application, and Councillor Dickson argued that the new Noosa Council had the right to decide this issue, given that earlier in the year residents had voted to de-amalgamate and therefore take responsibility for their own planning issues. Councillor Robinson put the case for deferral, noting that impacts on the local community, including traffic through town, were quite unacceptable.

The motion to again defer the application for further information called for extra details on the proposed infrastructure agreement and more odour modelling, which had only been predicted on 12-hour cycles rather than the necessary 24-hour cycles. Since the application (and its many revisions) continue to present unacceptable vehicle movement data and traffic safety solutions, storm water issues, and visual amenity and neighbour separation issues, there will likely be greater scrutiny in the new council arena on these and the many other problems this totally inappropriate development presents.

The deferral of a decision means that the new Noosa Council will decide the application.

4 December 2013

Cooroy Memorial Hall Meeting a Big Success
Over 200 people filled the hall on Wednesday 4 December to hear Rob King tell Cooroy people what to expect if SCC councillors vote in favour of the broiler farm proposal against their planning department’s recommendation to refuse it. People were adamant that any decision made at the last meeting ever for their stewardship of our region should not include a factory farm.

2 December 2013
Additional information provided by Developer

Sunshine Coast Council has just received the requested additional information from the developer. The PDF document downloads HERE  We have produced a reply pointing out that the project’s fatal flaws concerning traffic, storm water issues, composting and and scale are insoluble without injections of ratepayer money, or without district residents having to carry the burden of the site’s potential noise, odour and dust pollution. Read it HERE.

Councillors

14 November 2013
Council defers decision to next council meeting
Councillors from Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC)  voted on 14 November to defer making a decision on the application until their regular meeting at Tewantin Council Chambers on 12 December.

A packed gallery heard Councillor Wellington open the debate with a motion seeking to accept the planning officers’ recommendation to refuse the application. He summarised his reasons well and spoke on behalf of local residents affected by the noise, odour and dust, and by the prospect of them making their daily vehicle travel unacceptably dangerous. He  also said that Cooroy residents should not be subject to day and night truck movements that would travel right past their doors. The ensuing debate saw council planning officers questioned over aspects of the proposal, particularly the road conditions and the problems with odour and shed litter composting that appear to have been greatly underestimated by the applicant’s environmental consultants.

Councillor Hungerford then proposed a motion that the application be approved with some conditions, including minor road works, that would  be managed by the Council CEO. He was sure that the application fitted that the Council’s recent Rural Futures Strategy, although this was contested.

Councillor Green then proposed an amendment to the Hungerford motion that called for more research on contentious aspects of the application, and that these be presented at the last council meeting for the year on 12 December. This is also the last meeting ever for the two Noosa councillors as part of SCRC. This motion was passed by an overwhelming majority.

The motion
That Council defer consideration of application No. MCU12/0184 to the next Council meeting and request the applicant to provide the following additional information:

1. Total vehicle trips including details of size of vehicles, purpose of trip, time of trip and number of trips per day.
2. Feasibility of requirements to provide to seal to 50m in front of affected properties on Top Forestry Road or to enter into an Infrastructure Agreement with Council.
3. Composting and stockpiling methodology including data on management of emissions during these processes.
4. Water quality management particularly addressing potential impacts from use of shed waste and composting material for fertilising the orchard and any associated run off.
5. Feasibility on reduction of size and number of sheds.


Cascade2The next stage of our campaign
Since council planning officers have recommended the application be refused, we need to get more councillors on our side. While Councillor Green has asked the applicant for further information, we need him to put the concerns of local residents ahead of his apparent concern for the applicant.

We will certainly be working hard to ensure that all of Cooroy and Noosa gets behind us to lobby SCRC councillors asking them not to leave us with a broiler farm as a going away present.

SRCC Planning department summary for recommending refusal of the application
Their recommendation can be found HERE at 7.2.1 and is summarised below.

It is concluded that the proposed poultry farm does not meet The Noosa Plan provisions.  While the site is zoned Rural, the access and location is not suitable for such an intensive animal husbandry use.  The proposed development does not achieve sufficient separation distances from the surrounding residents, so as to avoid adverse odour impacts on residents’ amenity.  The applicant has not provided sufficient details on the potential emissions from manure stockpiles and manure spreading to demonstrate that the poultry farm complies with the Queensland odour guidelines for rural zoned land.  The closest houses to the site are also at risk of distinct odour impacts at times, with the applicant’s report failing to address one of the sensitive receiver locations.

The proposal will also generate significant traffic movements, impacting on the traffic safety of Top Forestry Road, with the applicants proposed improvements not sufficient to provide the necessary safe environment.  It is neither feasible nor reasonable to condition for the developer to construct the necessary improvements to this road, given the topography and the extent of works required to achieve a reasonable standard.  Traffic movements are also likely to adversely impact on residents’ amenity due to dust and noise generation on Top Forestry Road.  Collection of birds is also likely to be through the night during the peak batch cycle, affecting residents living along the route, particularly the residential streets in the Cooroy township.

It is, therefore, recommended that the application be refused.

Details about the proposal can be found HERE. Current submissions to council are listed on the council website HERE

24 September 2013
Noosa Biosphere supports us

Noosa Biosphere writes to Local, State and Federal government agencies requesting an Environmental Impact Statement be prepared for the endangered frog species found in the local waterways.

No Broiler Farm Cooroy has just presented a  submission to the council which includes advice from an environmental consultant. You can view it HERE.

Noosa Council broiler farm application page is HERE

Aerial view of the proposed development – boundaries in red.  Click here

Area affected.   Click here    Summary of the proposal.  Click here

NOTE: We want to get the facts straight on this proposal and anybody (including the applicant) should feel free to contact us through this site. Any substantiated claims of factual errors will be taken seriously and appropriate corrections made.