Objectors to kick up a stink over Merrivale industry plans

MERRIVALE residents are galvanising their case to argue in a public panel hearing against proposed major expansions at the Midfield abattoirs and a new industrial park.
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MERRIVALE residents are galvanising their case to argue in a public panel hearing against proposed major expansions at the Midfield abattoirs and a new industrial park.

A total of 259 submissions were lodged against a planned milk processing plant and a freezer and cold storage facility, plus a further 56 against a proposed six-lot private industrial subdivision in Eccles Street.

Another 54 submissions expressed support or no objections to the planning permit applications lodged with the city council.

A special government-appointed independent panel will sit for a week in February in the Lighthouse Theatre to consider the applications and submissions on what has become the biggest issue in Merrivale since an uprising against a proposed expansion of the Braithwaite rubbish tip in the late 1990s.

Many submitters are keen to speak at the panel hearing or have their arguments aired by a representative, Merrivale Community Association Keith McAlley told The Standard yesterday.

“If the panel lives up to its promise everybody will get a chance to be heard,” he said.

“The anticipation is building.

“Our group will meet again about a week before the hearing to finalise preparations.

“There’s been general interest from the wider Warrnambool community, but there’s a bit of the not-in-my-backyard effect.

“I’m wondering if Midfield feels the same now that there appears to be a fair bit of opposition.”

Sectors of the Merrivale community are displaying protest posters on their vehicles and properties.

The proposed milk plant would be about 34 metres tall, cover about 3000 square metres and operate around the clock, employing six staff on two shifts. The cool store would be about 29 metres tall and cover about 1820 square metres. It would also operate 24 hours a day and employ nine staff on shifts.

Former Crown land bought by Midfield from the government through the city council is the proposed milk dryer site adjacent to Midfield’s abattoir while the cold storage would be opposite on Scott and Strong streets.

Most objectors said the proposed buildings locations were inappropriate, others raised alarm about increased traffic after learning up to 39 trucks a day would be entering and leaving the new Midfield operations while the proposed subdivision would generate up to 260 vehicles a day.

Council planners have recommended the truck route be defined to avoid residential areas and the school.

Many submissions ment-ioned potential dust emissions from the milk powder, but an EPA report said a proposed baghouse to capture particles would be best-practice standard.

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