Compost facility not supported

October 04, 2017

Federation Council agreed last week to formally advise Cleanaway it will not lease the subject land intended for an organic processing facility.

At the first monthly meeting on September 26 of the nine elected councillors to Federation Council, it was unanimously agreed not to support Cleanaway's planning permit application for a facility at 142 Howlong-Goombargana Road Howlong.

Before councillors voted, council's General Manager Chris Gillard said council has a formal commitment to allow Cleanaway to use the site subject to a permit, a lease arrangement which would generate $125,000 per annum.

"Cleanaway has a reasonable expectation that council should honour a commitment particularly given it has a permit and the application would have cost approximately $300,000 to prepare," he told councillors.

"It is definitely tempting for council to discontinue discussions with Cleanaway given local concerns by some members of the Howlong community. There are, however, many persons in Howlong who do support the facility and many that are not all phased either way.

"The impact of a reversal in council's position is a serious action given the strategic issues and the impact on council's reputation."

Mr Gillard recommended that if council was to change its direction, it should advise its partner councils it prefers to see the organic waste processed outside of the region until the possibility of a regionally owned facility can be explored.

"This would have the advantage of councils owning a processing facility that would have some benefits but significant costs. It is likely this option would take years to achieve and the councils will face significant objection to any proposed location."

Immediate past Corowa Shire Mayor Paul Miegel said he was loathe to support any action which could harm council's reputation but that "council should be about bringing communities together".

"This issue has divided the Howlong community and therefore I can no longer support this proposal," he said.

Council's unanimous decision followed the motion of Crs Shaun Whitechurch and Fred Longmire.

Several Howlong residents at the council meeting, some of whom carried placards into the chamber room, applauded the decision not to proceed with the facility.

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