FEDERATION Council senior figures including administrator Mike Eden were notable no-shows from the Joint Regional Planning Panel hearing on the Howlong compost facility on Thursday.
The council’s support for the Cleanaway proposal on the outskirts of the town was repeatedly lambasted by the 60-plus speakers against the plant.
Mr Eden headed for Sydney for another engagement on Friday, but other absentees included general manager Chris Gillard and remaining members of the Local Representative Committee, Paul Miegel, Gail Law, Fiona Schirmer and Daryl Davey.
Security guards were present at the hearing but there was no hint of trouble among the 300-plus people who attended the hearing at Howlong Golf Resort.
Consultant Warwick Horsfall spoke in support of the Cleanaway development application and acknowledged the high level of opposition to the proposal.
“Weight of numbers may influence a political decision, but a decision made on a development application must be a planning one,” he said.
“The majority of submissions were written from a subjective perspective in a belief the proposal will smell without any clinical analysis about whether they are certain it will smell.
“It is noted there is no objection from any government agency.”
But Ellen Lions, who lives 700 metres from the proposed site, said the facility would be a disaster and also took aim at Mr Eden.
“I’m very concerned my lifestyle and that of the Howlong community is under grave threat by the dangers posed by pollution, noise and odour generated by this facility and trucks,” she said.
“The proposal would not have got this far if we had an elected council and not have an administrator who doesn't even live in the shire.”
Interested onlookers included former Corowa Shire councillors, Fred Longmire, Norm Wales, Francesco Bruinsma, Joan Palmer and former Urana mayor Pat Bourke.
Mrs Palmer spoke against the proposal.
Recently departed Federation Council director Adrian Butler was among the big crowd of onlookers.
Another ex-councillor Mark Shields was also present as a member of the HCC formed to fight the Cleanaway proposal.
Mr Eden was contacted for comment.