URBAN sprawl and the lifestyle expectations of people moving on to small country blocks sounded the death knell for a niche piggery plan at Glastonbury this week.
All but one Gympie Regional councillor voted to reject the application of Bronwyn and Terry Lloyd to produce up to 800 free-range pigs a year on their 70ha property at Little Rd.
This was despite support for the project from council staff and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and a recommendation it be approved, and despite the Lloyds' rural-zoned farm being surrounded by mostly rural land uses.
Instead the council bowed to a well-organised campaign spearheaded by one of the Lloyds' neighbours, and cited the Lloyds' inability to meet recommended "buffer" distances from nearby rural residential land, adjoining properties, and the Glastonbury Hall as the deal-breaker.
The council's staff report acknowledged that the proposal did not quite meet some separation distances, but said those distances have been "drafted to address the largest-scale piggery likely to occur", not a "relatively small-scale" operation like that of the Lloyds.
The council received 14 submissions opposing the application, and a petition containing 331 signatures from residents throughout the Gympie region.
Mrs Lloyd said yesterday she suspected the impending local government elections had played a major role in the decision.
She said it was disappointing "the council did not have the intestinal fortitude" to stand up for rural industry.
"We are a niche piggery with 40 sows," she said.
"We have got all this drama with mines and God knows what, and we just want to run a little piggery tucked away in the middle of nowhere."
In moving that the application be refused, deputy mayor Tony Perrett cited the insufficient separation distances for the "intensive animal industry" as his major concern.
"While the rural zoning of this land is correct for this application, there are a number of distances between the proposed development and community and residential receptors that cannot be achieved," he said.
"This is an area that is becoming more and more difficult for council to administer. We now have a mix of rural and rural residential zoned land that's going to continue to propose difficulties for intensive animal industries.
"While I acknowledge and support the importance of rural industry, I'm not convinced the locality for this intensive animal industry is correct.
"I have serious concern with free-range pigs running on this land type and I also have concern with its proximity to Glastonbury Ck.
"I have been advised by nearby neighbours that this free-range piggery has already commenced.
"If this is correct, it's a breach of the current planning and approval laws which is problematic in itself.
"I also note the community concern with this application."
Cr Donna Neilson said in support of the Lloyds that their application and conditions satisfied the Gympie Regional Council planning scheme.
"The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation has provided conditions (to the application) that are onerous and the application will be monitored (by DEEDI)," she said. "We talk about primary industry and we promote primary industry - if this is not the ideal spot for a piggery then perhaps someone can tell me where is."
Cr Neilson was alone in her vote against Cr Perrett's motion to reject the proposal.
Gympie Regional Council is also currently considering a development application for a similar free-range piggery on Sterling Rd, Kandanga Ck.
It recently approved two new feedlots, also defined as "intensive animal industry" at Cinnabar and Kinbombi.
Where the pigs were to be kept:
- Three farm sheds measuring 12m x 14m, 9m x 20m and 10m x 13m
- An 8.25ha free range area with 17 of the Berkshire sows allowed out into this area at any one time
- Deep-litter housing to be used within the sheds
- The farm on Little Rd is located 2.2km from Glastonbury Rd