Factory bid attracts debate
Locals voice their disapproval about ammunition business
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.