Ratepayers and residents riled up

A decision by Adelaide Plains Council’s (APC) council assessment panel (CAP) last month to grant approval for a horticulture development, which could see the construction of up to 10 greenhouses in primary producing broad-acre farming land near Mallala, has been met with strong criticism by the local residents’ group.

Adelaide Plains Ratepayers and Residents Association (APRRA) president, Greville Knight, has written to the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) court and lodged an appeal for the decision to be overturned.

In his letter, Mr Knight states the development application – submitted by Masterplan on behalf of Agrisano Holding Pty Ltd – should be overturned based on the following issues:

1. APC has not followed with any degree of professionalism their own Development Plan, specifically the allocation of appropriate land areas separating agricultural broadacre farming from horticulture activities.

2. APRRA can show precedence for other than a Category 1 classification; and

3. APC has not adequately assessed the development against the requirements of the Environmental Pollution Act 1993.

“Why is it so necessary to destroy broadacre farming land for a development that is better suited to the southern lands of APC?,” Mr Knight questioned in his appeal.

Mr Knight said APRRA believes the development needs to be more closely analysed with respect to the EPA Act of 1993.

“APRRA is concerned that in the event of a fire on-site, considering the size of the greenhouses, significant losses may occur before appropriate fire-fighting appliances may arrive; similarly, there is no indication of a water-tank designated for fire-fighting within the development application nor any infrastructure to aid a fire-fighting activity,” he stated.

“Noting the Pinery fire of 2015 involved this area of land; APRRA believes that on-site fire-fighting facilities should be available in order to provide a significant first response and regarding asset protection in the event of another bushfire.”

APRRA is also concerned about the visual impact of the development and possible decline in value of neighbouring properties.

In Mr Knight’s appeal, he states the group has real concerns around high levels of wastewater and the possibility of this wastewater reaching the nearby Light River.

“APRRA is not against development within our council boundaries, but we are concerned regarding the inappropriate location of this horticultural facility,” he stated.

Neighbours of the proposed development, Maxine and Tom Varcoe, have also raised concerns, and like Greville, are considering lodging an appeal to the ERD in support of APRRA.

“We greatly appreciate the support of Greville and the APRRA in supporting our plight,” Maxine said.

“As residents who live in close proximity to the proposed development, we have major concerns on a number of issues.”

“This land is recognised as productive farming land, good farming country, and while we realise this is a new type of development for this area, it is an unknown development with serious long term implications which need to be fully considered.”

Mr Knight was expected to present a deputation to APC at its ordinary meeting on Monday, September 28 outlining his appeal but withdrew, on the advice of the mayor, at the 11th hour to preserve his legal position, and also that of council. Mr Knight said the ERD court will assess his appeal in due course, with a decision hoped for in the next six weeks.

“As this matter is still before the ERD Court, and with various conditions of the Council Assessment Panel pertaining to the compromise plans still to be resolved, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time,“ APC mayor, Mark Wasley stated.