August hearing in dump appeal

GREATER Hume Council has budgeted to spend up to $40,000 defending the Southern Joint Regional Planning Authority’s refusal to permit a compost plant on farmland near Gerogery.

The council is backing the panel in the NSW Land and Environment Court after it rejected a development application last August for the $8.5 million facility.

An appeal was lodged late last year by Blueprint Planning on behalf of proposed operator Cleanaway.

The council has engaged Marsdens Law Group, with its anticipated legal bill included in an update on the issue for council’s next meeting at Culcairn on Wednesday.

Representatives from the opposing parties met this week for “case management proceedings”, setting the scene for five days of court hearings locally and in Sydney from August 14 to 20.

It was determined Blueprint and the council would both undertake odour and stormwater modelling.

Expert evidence will be presented at the hearings on odour, water, traffic, planning and composting operations.

The council intends to rely solely on the expert evidence of a planner.

Modified operations are proposed in the appeal, including the use of mobile pumping equipment to transfer grease trap waste directly from trucks to the gore cells.

A reduction in the size of the hardstand area would initially accommodate 10 gore cells and process 25,000 tonnes of compost per annum, with further expansion possible once production volumes rise.

A reconfiguration of the screening shed would make it smaller, while removal of mixing troughs and alterations would provide access through the site.

An original objector, Mike Scollard, will attend the hearings as a party.

The Environmental Protection Authority, NSW Roads and Maritime Services and Rural Fire Service all supported the plan but the council did not.

If the project proceeds, Cleanaway would contribute towards an upgrade of an Olympic Highway intersection and pay $85,000 of the council developer contributions.

Organic materials collected from Albury, Wodonga and Indigo and Corowa shires would be recycled on site with the compost produced shown to be effective in the production of canola crops and for general agricultural purposes.

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