Bellin­gen re­stricts berry farms

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS -

RE­STRIC­TIONS placed on blue­berry farms in the Bellin­gen Shire seek a bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­men­tal and agri­cul­tural needs, ac­cord­ing to Bellin­gen Mayor Do­minic King.

This week the coun­cil voted in favour of new con­trols im­posed on blue­berry farm­ers.

Cr King ex­plained the mo­tion was put be­fore the coun­cil fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­sul­ta­tion within the com­mu­nity but Nationals Mem­ber for Ox­ley Melinda Pavey prior to the meet­ing called on the coun­cil not to hin­der the growth of agri­cul­ture in the shire.

“The new reg­u­la­tions that ap­ply to blue­berry farm­ing have been care­fully de­signed us­ing ex­ist­ing State Gov­ern­ment guide­lines, which out­line op­ti­mum buf­fer zones to ad­join­ing dwellings and wa­ter­courses in or­der to min­imise both en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age and neg­a­tive public health im­pacts,” Cr King said.

“Coun­cil recog­nises the im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion that agri­cul­ture makes to the lo­cal econ­omy and has there­fore en­deav­oured to keep th­ese reg­u­la­tions sim­ple and fair.

“The revised ap­proach ap­plies only to blue­ber­ries, be­cause this type of farm­ing is par­tic­u­larly in­ten­sive and can cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age if not man­aged cor­rectly.”

Cr King said other tiers of gov­ern­ment were re­luc­tant to en­force leg­is­la­tion that gov­ern blue­berry farms.

The coun­cil said there will be fur­ther op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity and in­dus­try to en­gage as the mat­ter moves through the plan­ning process.

CALL: Mayor Do­minic King.

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