By Robert Muir
A development application for a food waste processing facility - defined by Corowa Local Environmental Plan 2012 (CLEP) as “a resource recovery facility” - on the Corowa Industrial Estate was unanimously approved, subject to conditions, at Federation Council’s monthly meeting on December 19.
The application sought retrospective approval for the current operation at the site as well as future plans.
The application states the proposal as “a food waste processing facility” containing the term “product destruction” describing the processing of food industry finished goods that are not sold for human consumption for various reasons including out-of-date, failing food quality assurance protocol, unsold stock and discontinued lines.
The contents are then re-used, either as stock feed, at local intensive livestock operations or to an EPA licenced composting facility to be turned into fertiliser.
Addressing council before the agenda’s subject arose, land and business owner of the site at 21-25 Poseidon Road, Nick Hogan, said council would have records of his operation back in 2006. He knew there was one objection to his application now under consideration, odour, which was discussed by council later in the meeting.
“I’ve got it covered in the development application,” he told council. “We’ve had the best odour consultant fly down from Sydney and come on site and we have the solution to odour.”
That solution is to extend the bio-filter system already installed on the pet processing shed but Mr Hogan said he needed to know council’s decision on his application before committing to further development expenditure.
“This system effectively extracts air from the shed and forces it through a filter system prior to discharge to the outside environment,” Federation Council’s Director Infrastructure and Environment Peter Gall said.
“This is a positive sign that the applicant is prepared to address the issue of odour and this now needs to be taken a step further to address odour emissions from other parts of the site.”
Mr Hogan said it was “an industrial process in the industrial estate employing 20 staff on a two-shift operation”.
“We employ people in our community who may not have had a good start in their working life,” he said. “There’s massive potential for growth in this industry.”
Cr Andrew Kennedy asked Mr Hogan what sort of guarantee can be given regarding smell, to avoid the “problem at Howlong” (the much talked about compost facility on the edge of town which is not to proceed) to which Mr Hogan commented about the bio-filter system and its extension to other sheds.
In answers to Cr Fred Longmire’s questions, Mr Hogan outlined his future plans which includes his 4,000sqm site expanding by a possible 1,640sqm.
“Subject to council I’ve got a potential purchase on the block directly behind us and could buy one next to that and that would deal with all traffic congestion,” he said.
During council discussion, Mr Gall said council is monitoring the site and all other land users on the industrial estate.
“We’ll soon have a new environmental officer and one of the roles will be monitoring this sort of business,” he said. “One of the developer’s requirements is that he meets reasonable time frames.”
Cr Bronwyn Thomas, who was concerned about no earlier formal council approval for the business, quipped: “Economic development is great. Employment is fantastic. But correct procedure please.”
Cr Paul Miegel said it was important the applicant become compliant in the most effective time possible.
Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch believed “the whole concept, if done properly, is great for Corowa; I agree (with Cr Miegel), the sooner the better.”