Residents still to decide on appeal

OPPONENTS of Baiada Poultry’s $82 million broiler operation at Manilla are yet to decide if they will challenge the project’s approval in court.

It was a “sombre” atmosphere when members of the Namoi River Community Group (NRCG) gathered last Friday to consider their options.

Earlier in the week, Tamworth’s councillors voted unanimously to approve the development, despite receiving 80 objections from residents.

NRCG president Matthew Fletcher said the group was confident it had a sound argument for having the project’s approval overturned.

However, he said the group still had several weeks before it needed to decide whether to commence legal proceedings or not.

“We believe we have the facts that would stand up in the Land and Environment Court,” he said. “But it costs a lot of money to get to that point.”

Baiada’s development, spread across five farms and 1519ha at Strathfield, will feature up to 70 sheds housing almost three million birds during each growing cycle.

Residents surrounding the farms primarily expressed concerns over the operation’s potential environmental, health and safety impacts.

But council’s planners, after considering advice from the NSW Environment Protection Authority, Department of Primary Industry and Office of  Water, recommended its approval – subject to strict conditions.

“Subject to the proposed conditions, which provide mitigation measures, it is considered that impact on the neighbouring and nearby properties, (the) Manilla township and properties located along the haulage route are minimised,” the report concluded.

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