Decision on canola mill delayed

A FINAL decision on a new 24-hour canola mill at Marys Mount near Gunnedah has been delayed following an impassioned plea by a resident.

Marys Mount resident Mark Donaldson made a presentation to the Gunnedah Shire Council meeting this week and said there were asthmatic children and adults living close to the proposed development.

Mr Donaldson said he had sought the advice of a chest and lung specialist, who had told him hydrogen sulphide which will be emitted by the mill could cause some asthmatics to become very sick.

He told the council local children would use a bus stop next to the mill about 400 times a year, and would be subjected to very high hydrogen sulphide levels.

Mr Donaldson outlined residents' concerns about the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation of the mill, the dust levels, noise and the danger posed by increased heavy-vehicle usage of the road.

He also said the 28,000-tonne limit annual crushing capacity was too high.

He asked the council to defer a decision on the mill.

The council's planning, environment and development committee had already voted to approve the project subject to a number of conditions.

Councillors asked planning and environmental services director Michael Silver a number of questions about issues including dust monitoring, noise and traffic management.

Mr Silver said the application was consistent with the area's rural zoning.

"In terms of environmental requirements, this development application does not trigger an EPA [Environment Protection Authority] licence it is a local matter," Mr Silver said.

He said the council could seek conditions such as dust monitoring.

Mr Silver said the council could seek to defer the decision until more information was available.

Mayor Owen Hasler said councillors needed to ensure they deferred matters only if significant information was needed.

He asked if delaying the decision until the next council meeting in three weeks would cause concern.

Mr Silver said it would not.

The application for the mill has been made by Riverina Milling.

The mill will have the ability to process up to 28,000 tonnes annually, with 9800 tonnes of oil, and 18,200 tonnes of seed meal being produced.