Fac­tory bid at­tracts de­bate

Lo­cals voice their dis­ap­proval about am­mu­ni­tion busi­ness

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY WILL MUR­RAY edi­tor@ euroa-gazette.com.au

MORE than 60 ob­jec­tions to the pro­posed am­mu­ni­tion fac­tory at the site of the old Euroa Gun Club in Hal­salls Lane, Creightons Creek, have been lodged with the Shire of Strath­bo­gie to date.

The vast ma­jor­ity of the ob­jec­tions - which came from a wide va­ri­ety of sources and are avail­able for view­ing at the shire of­fices - re­late to con­cerns over in­creased traf­fic, noise pol­lu­tion, and in­creased fire risk.

Ob­jec­tors ranged from lo­cal farm­ers, Land­care groups, CFA vol­un­teers and busi­ness own­ers, and all cited simi- lar rea­sons for their stance against the pro­posal.

Plan­ning of­fi­cers from the Strath­bo­gie Shire must now pour through these ob­jec­tions, con­sid­er­ing the mer­its of each in­di­vid­u­ally.

While the de­ci­sion over whether or not to is­sue a per­mit to ap­pli­cants PCM En­viro must take into con­sid­er­a­tion public sen­ti­ment, it does not nec­es­sar­ily hinge on the num­ber of ob­jec­tions to the plan.

The site for the pro­posed shot­gun-shell pro­duc­ing fac­tory and the neigh­bour­ing res­i­dences all zoned agri­cul­tural in the Shire of Strath­bo­gie Plan­ning Scheme.

In­dus­trial op­er­a­tions (am­mu­ni­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing is con­sid­ered such) must nor­mally com­ply with a set of re­stric­tions and safe­guards be­fore ap­proval can be given to op­er­ate nearby a res­i­den­tial zone.

One of these in­cludes clause 52.10 of the Vic­to­rian Plan­ning Pro­vi­sions, which states that ‘am­mu­ni­tion, ex­plo­sives and fire­works pro­duc­tion must have a thresh­old dis­tance be­tween the in­dus­try and res­i­den­tial zone of at least 1000m’.

The near­est house­hold to the pro­posed site in Creightons Creek is just 180 me­tres away.

Fur­ther­more, am­mu­ni­tion pro­duc­tion comes with a ‘Note 2’ an­no­ta­tion, which des­ig­nates it as an ‘in­dus­try which if not de­signed and lo­cated ap­pro­pri­ately nay cause of­fence or un­ac­cept­able risk to the neigh­bour­hood’.

When as­sess­ing a per­mit for in­dus­trial devel­op­ment, coun­cil must con­sider whether the un­der­tak­ing ad­versely af­fect the amenity of the neigh­bour­hood, in­clud­ing through the ap­pear­ance of any stored goods or ma­te­ri­als, and the emis­sion of noise, ar­ti­fi­cial light, vi­bra­tions, odour, fumes and waste prod­ucts.

The is­sue is; nei­ther the area of the old Euroa Gun Club, nor the neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties, fall within ei­ther an in­dus­trial or res­i­den­tial zone.

Thanks to changes made in 2013 by the coali­tion govern­ment, in­dus­trial ac­tiv­i­ties are now per­mit­ted within the agri­cul­tural zone, so long as coun­cil deems it ap­pro­pri­ate.

If the per­mit is ap­proved by coun­cil, the en­tire area be­ing within the agri­cul­tural zonein­clud­ing nearby res­i­den­cies - the re­stric­tions noted above with re­gard to in­dus­try and res­i­den­tial co­ex­is­tence do not nec­es­sar­ily ap­ply.

The ques­tion for those as­sess­ing the per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion from the am­mu­ni­tion pro­duc­ers must be whether or not they can rec­on­cile their ap­pli­ca­tion with the fact their op­er­a­tions take place in a zone not meant for in­dus­trial ac­tiv­ity.

For many of the ob­jec­tors, the an­swer is a most de­fin­i­tive ‘no’.

With so many ob­jec­tions to look over, and a num­ber of is­sues to con­sider when mak­ing their de­ci­sion on whether or not to is­sue a per­mit to the de­vel­op­ers, it is ex­pected a de­ci­sion will not be reached for a num­ber of weeks.

Even af­ter coun­cil makes its de­ci­sion, it seems likely that which­ever side feels ag­grieved by the de­ci­sion may look to take it to Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (VCAT).

NOT HERE: Res­i­dents of Creightons Creek and neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties have lodged more than 60 ob­jec­tions to the pro­posed am­mu­ni­tion fac­tory in Creightons Creek.

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