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Farmers v 'lifestyle'

James and Chrissy Peskops have invested everything into their plan to start a free range pig farm at Kandanga.
James and Chrissy Peskops have invested everything into their plan to start a free range pig farm at Kandanga. Renee Pilcher

THE next round in the war between urban sprawl and farming will be fought at the first meeting of the Gympie Regional Council tomorrow when it decides the fate of a proposed boutique piggery near Kandanga.

Free-range pig farms have become a hot button issue since the former council backflipped on its decision to reject a similar enterprise on rural land at Glastonbury.

The State Government had its own backflip late last year when it reversed its rejection of the Kandanga pig farm.

The neighbourhood is now a fiercely divided one, with passions on both sides running high.

Mary Valley councillor Julie Walker said the council would consider all sides of the debate. Mayor Ron Dyne has declined to comment.

In a new submission against the proposal, neighbours Michael Place and Arlette Langevin argued that even though they were not primary producers, they and other "lifestyle residents" at Kandanga Creek contributed more to the local economy than a boutique piggery.

If given the green light, 10 sows would graze on 10ha of the Peskops' 53ha property.

"It would make no sense should the interests of one small piggery be considered to be more important... than the majority of residents in an area designated by the (council) as rural zoned but rated as per usage as rural residential," Mr Place and Ms Langevin said.

"Can the (council) guarantee that, should the proposed piggery be given approval, there will be no detrimental health issues?

"Sterling Rd and Ernst Rd are unsealed and especially during the winter months any traffic along these roads creates dust. A viable piggery will require frequent movement of stock, can the (council), DEEDI and the applicants guarantee that no pig faeces and urine will be deposited on the roads and then, with the dust, end up in the water tanks of all the properties bordering the roads in question?

"Also, whilst the applicants propose raising pigs many of the 'lifestyle' objectors are already raising children.

"Do we give precedence to pig raising over child raising? On either a social or an economic scale which is of more benefit to society?"

Mr Place and Ms Langevin said claims in a petition supporting the pig farm earlier this year that 366 signatures were gained from families within a 500m radius of the site were "patently erroneous and misleading".

"Should that petition be used even as partial justification for giving any go-ahead for the development it would be a travesty of due process and leave any approval open to legal challenge," they said.

Farm owner Chrissy Peskops said yesterday her proposal had already been approved by the relevant State Government agencies and departments, which were the experts in the areas of environment and agriculture and had set guidelines for this type of operation.

"The farm application has been given approval twice and will be monitored by the government agencies on a regular basis to ensure we do the right thing," she said.

"The area is zoned rural and should be allowed to have rural activities."

Topics:  council farmers lifestyle piggery

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