James and Chrissy Peskops at council meeting where they received the go-ahead for their pig farm.
James and Chrissy Peskops at council meeting where they received the go-ahead for their pig farm. Renee Pilcher

Pigs win after sweet and sow fight

COMBATANTS from both sides of the Kandanga Creek pig farm controversy crowded into the public gallery of Gympie Regional Council yesterday to hear the council approve a much-reduced application.

It was the end of a long and bitter battle.

Originally rejected and then endorsed by the state government, the proposed free range farm on rural zoned land was also rejected and then endorsed by the council.

It generated four petitions - two against and two for it.

Farmers James and Chrissy Peskops withdrew their application in May when they learned council staff had recommended their proposal be rejected.

Their resubmitted, downsized application was given the green light yesterday.

But the community remains divided.

Emotions have run high and debate has raged among residents near Sterling Rd where the Peskops will now establish a rotational outdoor free-range pig farm for a maximum of 100 standard pig units (which equates to up to 144 actual pigs of varying size).

The pigs will be kept in two paddocks and will be provided with movable arc sheds for shelter. They will be rotated regularly and the portions of paddock when not used to contain pigs will grow pasture or crops.

Though officially classified as intense animal husbandry, the council stressed yesterday that the farm was "in actual fact, a low intensive application" and "a rural use in a rural zone".

After extensive research "above and beyond the call of duty... council officers are quite satisfied that the amenity of that area is not going to be significantly affected by this small-scale piggery", planning director Mike Hartley said.

The noise, smell and impact on the waterway will be minimal.

Mary Valley councillor Julie Walker said the proposal was a far cry from a piggery.

Her father had been a free range pig farmer and she was more qualified than anyone to know the minimal impact such an enterprise had on an area, she said.

"What we have considered here today is considerably less than the original application," said Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett.

"It's a quarter of what was presented last time."

He commended the Peskops for reducing the size of their proposal and said it would be "an advantage to have that particular business in the Mary Valley".

 

CONDITIONS

Reliable water supply to be provided

Development permit for building work to be obtained

Site management plan prepared by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to be submitted to council

Existing vegetation a minimum of 40m wide adjoining Mitchell and Kandanga Creeks to be retained

Management practices and procedures in stormwater and erosion management plan adhered to at all times

Raft of DAFF conditions

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