Chook plan ruffles feathers

THE troops are rallying at Allora as residents plan to put forward objections to a proposed chicken hatchery which could incubate up to a million birds per week.

Allora resident Leeann Smith said a series of objection letters had been written up and only needed to be addressed and sent.

“There are eight letters that I know of and that’s just people I have spoken to,” she said.

“I know one chap has been into the council and I have spoken to another lady who is very concerned,” she said.

Mrs Smith said there was still a great of confusion attached to the address which she and other residents believed didn’t accurately describe where the development would be located.

The address given on the public notice and planning application was 290 Forest Plains Rd, Allora, but the buildings would front onto Bradfield Rd.

Council has said the address is technically correct but that has failed to appease residents who say more people would object if they fully understood the location of the proposed hatchery.

“People don’t even know about it,” Mrs Smith said.

“It seems to be going over people’s heads and we can only do so much.”

She said she was also concerned about the possibility of flooding.

“When we had our two floods, the one in December and the one in January, that particular block was isolated for weeks,” she said.

The application stated up to 32 jobs could be up for grabs if the development goes ahead – giving a much-needed boost to the local economy but even the potential of more employment wasn’t convincing Mrs Smith.

“I don’t believe the so-called employment thing is going to be relevant to us,” she said.

“There looks to be a proposal in there to build a levee, but where will all of that water go when it rains? On to other people’s properties?

“There are just all of these little things that I don’t believe the council has looked far enough in to.”

Councillor Ross Bartley said he had received phone calls from concerned Allora residents but he was yet to look at the application in detail.

He said he would be looking over it in the comings days and raising concerns at the general council meeting.

“I would ask them (the objectors) to put a submission in to council before the closing date,” he said. “I think the only the way forward is to make sure the submissions get to us before the closing date.”

He said the councillors took submissions about development applications very seriously.

“They are all reviewed very carefully and each issue raised is looked at,” he said

“And it is a big help to us, it gives us a heads-up as what is in the applications and the possible difficulties.”

The company behind the proposal, Darwalla Milling Pty Ltd, already runs an operation at Mt Cotton and was looking to build the new state-of-the-art hatchery from scratch. According to the proposal fertile eggs would be brought into the hatchery, incubated and hatched at the facility before being shipped off to broiler growing farms, within two hours.

The company said it would source fertile eggs from surrounding areas, including Allora and Clifton, a further benefit to the local economy.

The land on which the development had been proposed is now a vacant lot and the development included the hatchery and an additional residential dwelling.

The company said there would also be the potential for local businesses to nab the tenders for the construction of the facility.

Jamie Mackenzie was a consultant with the Nolan cattle feedlot development that ended up in court and while he was not familiar with the hatchery proposal, he said council had to be particularly mindful of the application’s potential impact on Allora residents.

He said council had previously been inconsistent with approving and rejecting intensive farming developments because of the vagueness of council planning laws.

He said often there was a conflict of interest for people who wanted to live near water.

“There is a little bit of irony there, where there is water, people want to build nice houses but it’s also where big industry needs to be,” he said.

The applicant was out of the country until Wednesday and has been unable to provide a comment to the Daily News since it first reported the proposal on July 7.

The public have until July 28 to submit any objections to the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) before the proposal goes before council. It can be viewed at the SDRC Warwick office in Albion St.

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