Family-owned chicken farm expansion rejected
A POULTRY farmer says red tape has halted his plans to expand to more than half a million chickens after an appeal court ruled this week that foul odours would be too strong for the community.
Poultry farm owner Douglas Phipps downplayed the impact of the potential smell saying his family "was trying to do good things for society but had run into bureaucracy".
He said local jobs were a strong focus of the expansion plans and that the development even had two letters of support from the most immediate neighbours who were happy for the expansion to go ahead.
Mr Phipps appealed in the Planning and Environment Court after the Somerset Regional Council and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries rejected the original application for the Coominya farm.
The proposal was for an additional eight poultry sheds - each about 160m long by 17m wide.
Each shed would house up to 50,000 birds.
The application also sought to increase the number of birds in the existing six sheds from 41,000 to a maximum of 50,000 each, resulting in the proposed new maximum of 700,000 birds on the site.
It would bring the production of the farm up from 250,000 chickens.
Judge Michael Rackemann ruled the odour likely to be produced from the expansion was too strong to warrant the application, despite "economic benefits".
Mr Phipps said the farm had operated on the Coominya property for four years and that nobody had complained about the smell.
"It's now got to be referred to four government departments and the regulation is getting over the top," Mr Phipps said.
"They're saying we're going to have an odour plume of 6000 acres. We built a house a few hundred metres from the sheds and we're not too worried about it.
"They create a bit of odour but we have done a lot of things to help that and we've never had one person complain."
Mr Phipps said there were no submissions made during the normal public notification period for the development application and people in the area were "reasonably happy with what's happening".
He said if it had been approved, the expansion would have taken 12 months, cost $8 million and created up to 20 construction jobs.
"We desperately need jobs in Somersetand prosperity brings prosperity," he said.
"It's only a cog in the chain of the chicken industry.
"It would have created more jobs directly and indirectly."
Mr Phipps said original expansion plans were altered.
The changes followed the closure of the Steggles processing plant at Wulkuraka in January.