Supreme de­ci­sion

Coun­cil looks at le­gal ac­tion to re­cover loan

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Supreme Court in­ter­ven­tion is be­ing con­sid­ered in an ef­fort to re­cover an out­stand­ing loan amount of­fered by Ed­ward River Coun­cil to the com­pany propos­ing to build an ethanol plant in De­niliquin.

It fur­ther places the de­vel­op­ment of the fa­cil­ity at De­niliquin un­der a cloud, de­spite Mayor Norm Bren­nan say­ing he still holds hope the pro­ject will come to fruition re­gard­less of the po­ten­tial le­gal ac­tion.

Dong­mun Green­tech was pro­vided with the loan by the for­mer De­niliquin Coun­cil in 2014 to pur­chase land at Geelong which would even­tu­ally feed in to its plant at De­niliquin.

Fol­low­ing its merger with Conargo Shire to form Ed­ward River in 2016, the coun­cil started the process of re­cov­er­ing the lon­gout­stand­ing loan ear­lier this year.

It suc­ceeded in re­cov­er­ing just over one third of the loan by sell­ing off two of three blocks pur­chased by the com­pany at Geelong us­ing the coun­cil loan.

Cr Bren­nan said re­quests to have the re­main­ing $600,000 re­paid have so far gone unan­swered.

Coun­cil de­cided at its De­cem­ber 20 meet­ing, in con­fi­den­tial com­mit­tee, to take the mat­ter fur­ther.

‘‘As a re­sult of the fail­ure to meet with the direc­tions is­sued (to re­pay the loan) we have de­cided we may go to the Supreme Court,’’ Cr Bren­nan told the PAS­TORAL TIMES.

‘‘Given we have been un­able to make con­tact with any­one from the com­pany or their le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, our rec­om­men­da­tion is to go through that process.

‘‘It could re­sult in the re­lease of the rest of the land for us to sell and re­cover what is ow­ing.

‘‘If we do go down that path, the costs as­so­ci­ated with go­ing to the Supreme Court would also be de­ducted from that sale.’’

Cr Bren­nan said po­ten­tially im­pact­ing on coun­cil’s plans is that there are re­port­edly other claims on the land owned by Dong­mun Green­tec in Geelong.

‘‘The land can­not be sold if there is a caveat on it,’’ he said.

In Au­gust, Cr Bren­nan in­di­cated the re­main­ing land held by Dong­mun Green­tec was large and valu­able. He said its sale would re­cover more than what is owed to coun­cil.

Any sur­plus funds after all costs are re­cov­ered will be re­turned to the com­pany.

Cr Bren­nan said it is not clear whether this re­cent de­vel­op­ment will have an im­pact on the plans for an ethanol plant to be built in De­niliquin.

He said while con­fi­dence and en­thu­si­asm is de­pleted, coun­cil would still like to see the pro­ject pro­ceed.

‘‘We are very hope­ful Dong­mun Green­tec can get some­thing go­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘Coun­cil would be still happy to work with them towards that aim.’’

A 147.18ha in­dus­trial block on Barham Rd has been ear­marked for the ethanol plant pro­ject, which is ex­pected to be large enough to pro­duce 110,000 kilo­litres of ethanol each year and up to 92,000 tonnes of dried dis­tilled grain.

The de­vel­op­ment process has been on­go­ing since Ko­rea-based Dong­mun pres­i­dent Sung Ho Joo’s first visit to De­niliquin in De­cem­ber 2013.

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