On Wednesday Redland City Council will consider yet another request for more time to develop a chicken poo fuelled power station next to Darwhalla’s Golden Cockerel abbatoir in Mt Cotton.
The decade old application for a chicken poo incinerator at Mt Cotton was approved on appeal to the Land and Environment Court, the approval was made valid for 4 years from 2007. This court decision discounted community views but the process was followed by an extension to the validity of the application (again by the Court) in 2011.
Then in 2015 the Redland City Council,itself, approved a further extension …and this has now, again expired!
Ten years is long enough
But the chicken poo incinerator is back again! This time another application for more time. This request is for an extension of 22 months until July 2018.
In the legal grapplings to date, first in the granting of an approval and followed by a series of extensions needed to legally sustain the valid development approval the interests of the applicant seem to have become stronger in the minds of decision makers while the interests of the community have become less of a concern to the elected councillors.
When is enough enough? Or better still when does a project like this trigger the “pub test”?
The chicken poo incinerator has again raised community angst.
It seems curious that the officers report to councillors on the application recommend the timeframe of the approval be extended. The officers report that the new request has been assessed against the test under legislation (ie s388 of Sustainable Planning Act) and “is considered to be consistent with current laws and policies”.
Then officers go on to make the problematic call that there are “no new issues are likely to be raised in a submission if the application were to be lodged anew”.
In making this “assessment” it might be argued that the rights of hundreds of new residents or even those residents who where children a decade ago are locked in a time warp. Many locals are certain that it is very likely that new issues will be raised and the view is in effect dismissive of the interests of the existing community of Mt Cotton. On this basis the comment by officers is “out of order”.
After ten years and two previous extensions, the community of Mt Cotton deserves the opportunity to test the view of the Council officers.
The applicant’s reason for seeking the third extension is “Cleveland Power has encountered delays in obtaining finance for the construction of the proposed development”.
The community might reasonably ask why it is being held to ransom over the financial feasibility of the project.
Will a new Council mean a new view?
On 6 May 2015 Redland City Council decided to give this project a second extension to 20 September 2016. According to the meeting minutes the six Councillors who voted for the extension were Karen Williams, Alan Beard, Kim-Maree Hardman, Mark Edwards, Lance Hewlett and Paul Gleeson. The five councillors who voted against giving an extension were Wendy Boglary, Craig Ogilvie, Murray Elliott, Julie Talty and Paul Bishop.
Since the original application well founded measures of community values have emerged …not least being the 2016 local government elections which returned three new faces to the Council: Peter Mitchell, Paul Golle and Tracey Huges.
Since the original application was submitted, Redlands has also adopted the Redlands 2030 Community Plan which sets out measured and known community values – surely an important issue to be considered in making this determination.
On Wednesday, if the meeting chair is not paying attention, their may be some waffle from the usual suspects about the cost of a possible appeal but this has nothing to do with planning grounds. Planning matters should be determined on planning grounds.
Saturday in the Mount Cotton Community Park
In 2015 Cr Julie Talty voted against an extension, to support her local community.
Cr Talty and Cleveland Power (Darwhalla) will be at the Mount Cotton Community Park on Saturday from 1pm to 3pm to discuss the Chicken poo project with residents. An excellent opportunity for residents to find out more about the project and have a say.
Here’s a link to the Council’s meeting agenda for Wednesday 22 March, commencing 9:30 am.
Further reading on the chicken poo plant:
Redlands2030 – 17 March 2017