Concrete plant gets go-ahead

DESPITE 135 submissions against a proposed concrete batching plant, the development was given the go-ahead by the Central Highlands council on Monday.

After three previous deferrals and the request for numerous reports and studies on the development, an approval to proceed was granted in a decision that split councillors six to three.

In April last year, Emerald residents mobilised by lodging a whopping 135 submissions opposing the development.

Concerns about the appropriateness of zoning, noise, hours of operation, flood impacts, water contamination, public health and the effects on nearby residential property values were raised.

Kidd St resident Sharon Cooper said the group was looking into the option of further legal action.

"We were hoping with the high number of submissions and the fact it's in a known flood path, council would be against it," Mrs Cooper said.

"We believe there is a far better location for a concrete batching plant to go other than a flood-prone area."

She said the flood mitigating conditions allowing the plant to go ahead, which state that the LN1 drain will be widened to alleviate impacts, was pointless if it wasn't completed first.

"We know it is in an industrial zone, but council needs to be looking at where they place high impact industries," Mrs Cooper said.

"That area is blanket industrial. There needs to be a difference between low, moderate and high impact zoning."

Last April the applicants were ordered to produce three reports to be analysed in conjunction with two flood studies commissioned by council.

After reviewing the information, Murray and Associates senior town planner Blake Bell informed council the applicant had clearly demonstrated the development would have "a non-worsening effect" on surrounding properties and flood flows.

Mayor Peter Maguire was convinced any impact to flow paths could be mitigated.

Cr Ross Rolfe also voted in favour of approval.

"My only reservation is with the flooding impacts it might cause, and that they are minimal at worst," he said.

"The noise and other complaints I never believed to be a noteworthy issue."

Crs Penny Bulger, Gail Nixon and Patty Schwarz all voted against the application.

Cr Peter Haylock, who has an interest in the plant, made himself absent from the council chambers while the application was debated.

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