Rose Valley residents fear abattoir precedent

OPPOSED: Save Rose Valley group members Allan Mackay, Ken Sandy, Debra Sandy and Peter Berriman.

OPPOSED: Save Rose Valley group members Allan Mackay, Ken Sandy, Debra Sandy and Peter Berriman.

A group of Rose Valley residents fear a “serious and dangerous legal precedent”, as well as environmental consequences if a proposed abattoir goes ahead. 

In 2013, Kiama council received a DA for the construction of an abattoir on a Rose Valley Road property.

Council determined the use was prohibited and unable to be approved under Kiama LEP 2011.

According to a council report, they later received a planning proposal in line with council’s policy.

The proposal includes an abattoir and a 60-seat, licensed revolving restaurant. 

The applicants are Gerhard and Maria Baden of Schottlanders Wagyu. 

Last December, Kiama councillors resolved via a 5-4 vote to endorse the planning proposal for “additional permitted” uses at the property to proceed to the Department of Planning and Environment for a Gateway Determination. 

The site is zoned as RU2 – Rural Landscape and E2 – Environmental Conservation.

The LEP does not permit an abattoir/livestock processing industry in any land use zone. A restaurant/café is not permitted in a rural zone.

This planning proposal doesn’t propose changes to the current zone or minimum lot size.

However, it seeks additional uses on the nominated site only.

Under current arrangements, cattle are raised on-site, sent to an abattoir for slaughtering, with the carcass being returned for processing and packaging in the existing on-site meat processing plant.

“Local abattoirs have indicated that they can no longer accommodate the size and weight of the cattle produced,” council’s report said. 

“As a consequence of this, the cattle are required to be slaughtered in Casino… This is not seen as cost effective for the producer and has the potential to influence the quality of the final product.”

The proposal went to the Department for the Gateway Determination, which they permitted in August. 

This enables public consultation and Kiama council to provide the final determination. 

The applicants would be required to submit a DA to council. 

The Save Rose Valley group says they fear the environmental threat of an abattoir, which they believe would result in further pollution of the “sensitive” Werri Lagoon, waterways and land.

The group includes Ken and Debra Sandy, whose property neighbours the Badens. 

“If this planning proposal is allowed, we are alarmed this would set a serious and dangerous legal precedent that could allow more abattoirs or any other totally unsuitable development next to any resident in Kiama, Gerringong, Jamberoo, Foxground, Gerroa and Rose Valley,” Mrs Sandy said. 

“Data received confirms the land adjacent to the proposed site of this prohibited facility is a floodplain. 

“The chemicals used to treat the effluent will flood the paddock, the land and waterways feeding into Werri Lagoon.”

Mr Sandy disputes claims that the number of animals being processed at the site would be limited to two per week, saying the Badens service several local restaurants. 

The applicants claim that an on-site sewage treatment facility and effluent re-use scheme has been designed and prepared, which will prevent smells or pollution of Werri Lagoon’s catchment.

As for whether the proposal would set an unwanted precedent, Mrs Baden said, “if there would be similar proposals, they would have to be lodged, and council would have to assess it on its merits”.

Mrs Baden said the current distance associated with transporting their animals wasn’t viable from a business perspective.

“There has to be flexibility in the system if they want farmers to stay on the land,” she said.

“(The proposal) is absolutely appropriate and essential to the nature of our particular farm.

“The facility is solely for our own animals, who are conceived, born and nurtured on the farm.”

According to a Kiama council spokesperson, the planning proposal will go on public exhibition from Friday, October 7 for 28 days.

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