VCAT rejects flood fears for 5000-head piggery near Kerang

A property on the Murray Valley Highway between Kerang and Cohuna has been approved for a 5000-head piggery. Picture: Google

A property on the Murray Valley Highway between Kerang and Cohuna has been approved for a 5000-head piggery. Picture: Google

TWO neighbours have been unable to stop a 5000-head piggery from gaining approval on a site east of Kerang after the planning tribunal found it was not in a flood prone area.

Two men challenged a Gannawarra Shire Council decision to approve the intensive piggery on the Murray Valley Highway believing the area was prone to flooding, while they were also concerned about odour and noise.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard the matter in May, and made its order last week for the proposal between Kerang and Cohuna.

The piggery is expected to house an average of 4981 pigs, raised to 19 weeks before they are slaughtered. It will produce 173 tonnes of solid waste per year and includes 12 pig sheds, two-pond effluent treatment and evaporation system, runoff and collection dam and manure storage.

The neighbours – one a dairy farmer, the other a beef and sheep farmer – live within 1.6 kilometres. The closest residential property is just over one kilometre away from the proposed piggery, with 16 dwellings within three kilometres.

The objectors argued the area was inundated during the 2011 flooding of the Piccaninny Creek, and could threaten Kerang’s water supply.

Flood modeling found the piggery site was unlikely to be inundated even in a one-in-100 year flood event, but it does have poor drainage.

The North Central Catchment Management Authority did not object to the piggery. The Environment Protection Authority also signed off on the plans.

In his order, VCAT presiding member Christopher Harty said the site did not pose an unacceptable flood risk.

“We note the site is flat, but that the area proposed for the piggery is located outside of the area of the site affected by the floodway overlay and Land Subject to Inundation overlay,” he wrote.

“We also note this same area is used for irrigated farming and has been laser leveled for such purposes.”

The developer must provide detailed plans to the council, and gain approval from Goulburn-Murray Water for its environment management plan.

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