Baiada plans ‘error ridden’

CONCERNED groups and residents have called for Baiada Poultry’s “error-ridden” development applications for an $80 million chicken farm at Manilla to be thrown out.

The deadline for public submissions closed on Monday and Tamworth Regional Council – together with various state agencies – will now begin the assessment process.

But members of the Namoi River Community Group maintain the five-farm, 70-shed broiler operation would create un- acceptable social and environmental imposts.

Robyn Skelton, who lives on her elderly parents’ farm at Manilla, said the property would be “completely boxed in” if the Strathfield development went ahead.

However, she said the applications – prepared by PSA Consulting – had omitted her house, despite her being a direct neighbour, from its odour assessment analysis.

“That’s a big error in terms of the buffer distances and separation distances for farms one and two,” she said.

“I quizzed them on it when we had a sort-of town meeting last Friday and they couldn’t give me a straight answer.”

Namoi Water, the region’s peak industry group for irrigated agriculture, has lodg- ed a submission concluding the proposed development’s location is “unsuitable”.

The 15-page document suggests the poultry giant has significantly under-

estimated the amount of water its three million birds require, and considers the potential for contamination of the river a “major concern”.

“Council, if approving this, is ultimately approving the degradation of the river environment upstream of supply used for critical human need,” the submission read. But John Vassallo, the CEO of Baiada’s property arm, EJC Corporate Services, said the company fully stands by the information contained in the applications.

He said all comments and submissions raised during the public consultation period will be reviewed and it would “where appropriate do what is necessary to address them”.

“We have spent almost two years compiling a detailed and considered application which will be subject to rigorous review by Tamworth council and 

multiple NSW government agencies before any approvals are given,” he said.

“This project is an $82 million investment in the local Manilla economy that will directly create 25 permanent jobs and help to underwrite further investment and expansion in the Tamworth area, such as our new processing plant proposed for Oakburn.”

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