Arial view of the Nestle coffee factory in Pine Street.
Arial view of the Nestle coffee factory in Pine Street. Craig Warhurst

Nestle vapour upgrade

“IT’S good to see the investment,” was the uncontested assessment of Gympie Regional Councillor Graham Engeman this week, when council’s Planning and Development Committee considered new expansion plans by major Gympie employer, Nestle.

Committee chairman Ian Petersen remarked the proposed expansion, involving a new 27m high evaporator building at the company’s Pine Street factory, would not greatly affect the appearance of the existing factory buildings, being 7m lower than the parapet wall of the current drying tower building.

“It’s good to see the investment actually,” Cr Engeman said.

“It is good,” Cr Petersen agreed.

Councillors agreed to recommend to their general meeting that the proposal did not constitute a material change of use of the existing premises and “would not result in a material increase in scale and intensity of the existing use of this location”.

Backing the advice of Planning and Development director Mike Hartley, councillors recommended the full council inform Nestle that, because the proposed building exceeds 10m in height, the proposal would trigger the need to obtain development approval “for planning scheme building matters”.

Councillors also supported a recommendation it inform Nestle that “council is satisfied that the proposed building achieves the specific outcome of the Gympie Planning Area Code in relation to building height and is acceptable on that basis”.

The committee had received a letter from Nestle advising that the company, in the new financial year, “is continuing to invest in our operations in Gympie with major capital projects to upgrade our coffee manufacturing process and further improve our water waste management system”.

The company said: “For many years the Gympie factory has used paddock irrigation as a key part of our factory waste water management strategy.

“Irrigation is an important strategy for operation of our factory, but severe wet weather requires us to store coloured wastewater in holding tanks until we have enough dry weather for the paddock to allow the resumption of irrigation.

“Holding wastewater has capacity limitations and requires measures to avoid odours from this water.

“The proposal will reduce our reliance on paddock irrigation by giving us the option to evaporate wastewater independent of weather conditions.

“This will eliminate the need to hold wastewater on site during prolonged wet weather and therefore (will) significantly reduce the potential for unpleasant odours from our factory or irrigation paddock,” the company stated.

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