Feedlot expansion plans revised over odour concerns

REVISED plans to expand a feedlot west of Toowoomba to handle 20,000 head of cattle have been lodged with the council.

Wonga Plains Feedlot owners Camm Agricultural Group submitted a development application this month to increase the Irvingdale facility's existing capacity of 5350 cattle to a total of 20,000 by consolidating and expanding it with another feedlot.

Camm Ag owns 10 properties including Ashvale, Bald Hills, Boxgrove, Cammere, Clydesdale, Colada, Hillcrest, Penang and Retreat.

The development application proposes consolidating the Penang Feedlot, which has a current capacity of 2750 cattle, with the Wonga Plains Feedlot which has a current headcount of 5350 cattle.

The figures are standard cattle units where each beast weighs in at 600kg.

The plan will expand Wonga Plains' capacity 20,000 standard cattle units, and Hillcrest will remain a 999 head stud stock facility.

The proposed Wonga Plains expansion area as identified in plans lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council.
The proposed Wonga Plains expansion area as identified in plans lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council. Contributed

Plans were first lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council in October 2016 but were rejected due to odour concerns which forced plans to be redesigned to "comply with the relevant odour separation distances".

"The proposed feedlot area was redesigned and relocated and the model re-run," the application addendum noted.

"There was significant discussion about the pen layout and the preferred location.

"This led to the pen area being redesigned and moved further to the south."

The expansion will see an additional 10 rows of nine pens installed, along with a compost manure pad to be undertaken in two stages.

If approved, the first stage works will begin with wastewater and some pen construction over 12 months.

The second stage will begin three years after the first stage is completed and include the construction of the remaining pens.

The Penang Feedlot will be demolished after construction is completed.

"Development of the expansion will entail vegetation clearance," the application stated.

"Approximately 78 per cent of the area that will be cleared is cropland.

"Another 16% is used for holding/grazing cattle.

"The proposed development does not interfere with any mapped regulated vegetation under the Vegetation Management Act nor the Toowoomba Regional Council planning scheme mapped vegetation."

Paddy Perkins, who died in December 1902, is believed to be buried on Wonga Plains.
Paddy Perkins, who died in December 1902, is believed to be buried on Wonga Plains. Contributed

The application addressed water supplies and catchments, noting flood flows are a "relatively common occurrence" in the Condamine River catchment area which is adjacent to Wonga Plains.

"Myall Creek flows through the Camm Ag Property Aggregation," the application stated.

"There have been 11 major flood events in Myall Creek since 1908, the highest being the February of 1981 where flood waters rose to a height of 4.5m.

"Four large floods have been recorded through Dalby during December 2010 and January 2011.

"The largest flood during this time had a peak of 3.74m (the fifth highest on record dating back to 1942)."

It stated the expansion area is 400m from the nearest watercourse, and irrigation of treated wastewater would be undertaken at least 100m from the watercourse.

Concerns regarding odour impacts on neighbouring properties were addressed, with the application noting "it is unlikely that they will be significantly affected by noise and dust producing activities associated with cropping on Wonga Plains and Penang".

"It is likely that they will be exposed to odour on a regular basis," the applicated stated.

"A treaty has been arranged with the two nearest residents and owners of this property to ensure that they understand that the feedlot will produce significant odour that extends to their property.

"The nearest sensitive receptors to noise are likely to be impacted by increased noise levels for construction, but operation should not produce noise different to the current operations in the area.

"However, more frequent noise is expected.

"These residents currently live alongside a cultivation paddock, so noise associated with harvesting and irrigation should not pose a nuisance.

"Due to the minor increase in daily traffic, it is unlikely that traffic noise will create a nuisance."

The grave of Paddy Perkins, who died in December 1902, is reportedly located on Wonga Plains but would be unlikely to be disturbed by the expansion.

However, should construction locate "an item, artefact or feature of cultural heritage significance", all works would stop and until "an agreement can be reached with the Aboriginal party in the area".

The exact location of Mr Perkins' grave is unknown.

The plans were lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council last week.

The developers have been contacted for comment.

Topics:  bowenville dalby feedlot irvingdale toowoomba toowoomba regional council

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