Com­post facility not sup­ported

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROBERT MUIR

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil agreed last week to for­mally ad­vise Clean­away it will not lease the subject land in­tended for an or­ganic pro­cess­ing facility.

At the first monthly meet­ing on Septem­ber 26 of the nine elected coun­cil­lors to Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, it was unan­i­mously agreed not to sup­port Clean­away’s plan­ning per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for a facility at 142 How­long-Goom­bar­gana Road How­long.

Be­fore coun­cil­lors voted, coun­cil’s Gen­eral Man­ager Chris Gil­lard said coun­cil has a for- mal com­mit­ment to al­low Clean­away to use the site subject to a per­mit, a lease arrangement which would gen­er­ate $125,000 per an­num.

“Clean­away has a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion that coun­cil should hon­our a com­mit­ment par­tic­u­larly given it has a per­mit and the ap­pli­ca­tion would have cost ap­prox­i­mately $300,000 to pre­pare,” he told coun­cil­lors.

“It is def­i­nitely tempt­ing for coun­cil to dis­con­tinue dis­cus­sions with Clean­away given lo­cal con­cerns by some mem­bers of the How­long com­mu­nity. There are, how­ever, many per­sons in How­long who do sup­port the facility and many that are not all phased either way.

“The im­pact of a re­ver­sal in coun­cil’s po­si­tion is a se­ri­ous ac­tion given the strate­gic is­sues and the im­pact on coun­cil’s rep­u­ta­tion.”

Mr Gil­lard rec­om­mended that if coun­cil was to change its di­rec­tion, it should ad­vise its part­ner coun­cils it prefers to see the or­ganic waste pro­cessed out­side of the re­gion un­til the pos­si­bil­ity of a re­gion­ally owned facility can be ex­plored.

“This would have the ad­van­tage of coun­cils own­ing a pro­cess­ing facility that would have some ben­e­fits but sig­nif­i­cant costs. It is likely this op­tion would take years to achieve and the coun­cils will face sig­nif­i­cant ob­jec­tion to any pro­posed lo­ca­tion.”

Im­me­di­ate past Corowa Shire Mayor Paul Miegel said he was loathe to sup­port any ac­tion which could harm coun­cil’s rep­u­ta­tion but that “coun­cil should be about bring­ing com­mu­ni­ties to­gether”.

“This issue has di­vided the How­long com­mu­nity and there­fore I can no longer sup­port this pro­posal,” he said.

Coun­cil’s unan­i­mous de­ci­sion fol­lowed the mo­tion of Crs Shaun Whitechurch and Fred Long­mire.

Sev­eral How­long res­i­dents at the coun­cil meet­ing, some of whom car­ried plac­ards into the cham­ber room, ap­plauded the de­ci­sion not to pro­ceed with the facility.

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