Lockwood group lobbies government over Hazeldene plans

A GROUP of Lockwood residents is lobbying the state government to stop "concerning" irrigation plans at Hazeldene's from going ahead. 

Over the last three months, Hazeldene's has been working with a local farmer to set-up two irrigators on his property, which will use treated class C waste water or better from the chicken farm. 

Lockwood Clean Living steering committee member Sarah Poyser said a seven-page letter detailing concerns had been presented to the Minister for Environment. 

She said more than 30 people had signed the letter, which she hoped would spur the government to take action. Fears include the waste water getting in the waterways and nearby dams, as well as the possible odour caused. 

"We genuinely have concerns for our quality of life," Ms Poyser said.

"This is waste water that will be sprayed near my property - water that is prohibited from being used on my vegetable patch, or even in my toilet. 

"Hazeldene's say it won't get on my property but I am not certain of that guarantee."

She said residents had only been notified of the plans after irrigation pumps had been set up and Hazeldene's had been contacted with concerns. 

"We had no idea anything was going on," she said. 

"I believe Hazeldene's were planning to use the spray without authority from the Environment Protection Authority because they hadn't even submitted a plan before they let residents know."

Hazeldene's has now submitted a plan to the EPA and say it will not operate the irrigation system until the company had approval.

EPA said it had not yet reached a decision as it was still assessing whether the design proposal was best practice and consistent with statutory policies.

Ms Poyser says it is concerning her future remains unknown. 

"I'm at the point where I'd have to sell my house if this goes ahead," she said. 

"We are gathering the troops - there are 70 people in the group already - and gathering information. We are going to fight this."

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards has also urged the Minister for Environment to urgently intervene on behalf of the group. 

She is calling on him to authorise an independent investigation into the proposed plans.  

“There are very real concerns held by the Lockwood Clean Living Group around the impact of the class C waste water, which is prohibited for human consumption," she said.  

“Additionally there are concerns regarding vegetable growing and crops for human consumption, as well as how far the aerosol spray of the water may travel and whether it may impact on human health and lifestyles.

“It is imperative that the minister intervene in this matter to give the Lockwood Clean Living Group confidence that all aspects of the plan are investigated thoroughly.”

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