ANGRY residents have vowed to fight Baiada Poultry every step of the way over its plans for a massive development outside of Tamworth.
The poultry giant flagged its intention earlier in the year to erect about 70 sheds – housing up to three million chickens – on farmland at Manilla.
Despite Baiada having lodged no development application with Tamworth Regional Council, a groundswell of opposition appears to be building.
A group of concerned landholders met last week to discuss how to proceed in their co-ordinated campaign against the proposal.
Manilla residents Bob and Meryn Wales decided to approach The Leader with their concerns in a bid to get on the front foot.
The two paramedics live on 30 acres off Namoi River Rd they describe as their own “patch of paradise” but their hopes of a tranquil future suddenly looked less certain when a friend showed them a letter from Baiada outlining its plans for the area.
“I just couldn’t believe it when they said 70 sheds – that’s unheard of, it’s nearly three million birds,” Mr Wales said.
“To endanger our community’s water supply, safety, lifestyle and environment to allow this development to proceed in the catchment area would be a wilful act of negligence on the part of the authorising body.”
Mr Wales said one of his biggest worries was the potential impact such an intensive development might have on the river.
In 2008, Baiada was fined $120,000 after faulty plumbing saw one million litres of effluent escape into a dry creek in Tamworth.
“Intensive poultry farming brings with it significant volumes of chemical and effluent,” Mr Wales said.
“Our town water is taken from that river and I’m concerned about will be going back into the water.”
Mr Wales said another issue with the development was the impact that traffic servicing the farm would have on the town.
He said literature provided by Baiada estimated there would be 30 truck and 70 car movements each day.