September 22, 2010

Logan City Council (we suspect after pressure from the Bligh State government following Mr Hogan’s presentation to them on September 10, see category ‘powerpoint presentations’) backflipped on the amendment to the planning scheme championed by Crs Pidgeon and Dalley that would have ‘resulted in market gardens on lots greater than 8000 square metres in the old Beaudesert area being exempt from development applications’.

We should bloody well think so!   Why should mostly non-resident farmers be exempt from development assessment?  Residents aren’t exempt. In fact the hoops this writer had to jump through just to get a greywater system (containing no sewage as we have a dry composting toilet) led us to joke that the Council must hold very grave concerns about the contents of our bath and laundry water!   We have a 9 acres forested block, but still had to comply with Council’s strict rules in this regard.  This cost us thousands of dollars to send waste water underground, water that could quite safely have been used on our garden.

In contrasts, these farms do not contain their runoff, and appear to have no proper toilet or washing facilities.   Our wastewater is treated as if it’s nuclear waste, while farmers are free to defecate on our fencelines and allow their runoff to undermine our homes and driveways.

As a result of the ‘backflip’, lots greater than 8000 square metres were made ‘code assessable’, and smaller lots ‘impact assessable’.  However, Mayor Parker is quoted as saying that, “It’s important for residents to understand that existing rural agriculture will not be impacted”.    Oh, lucky us!  So now, everywhere else in this area, impacts of farming activities on nearby residents have to be considered and residents’ objections heeded. But for those of us already being negatively impacted by existing farms, nothing has changed.   No enforced buffer zones.  No controls on chemical spraydrift.  No relief for the dozens who have reported negative impacts on their health and that of their children, pets and livestock.

To add insult to injury, the CEO of Growcom weighs in in the adjoining article, expressing his outrage that farmers now have to submit a development application before ripping the place up and constructing ugly greenhouses that destroy the neighbour’s amenity.  He then blathers on about the importance of maintaining ‘good quality farming land close to ‘major centres of population’ and states that ‘these adverse impacts have not been able to be substantiated by Logan City Council’s compliance officers’.

Well, Mr Livingstone, tell that to the brand new crop of asthmatics in the Greenbank area!   He neglects to mention that this area is far from ‘good quality farming land’.  It is dry schlerophyll forest with poor sandy and clay soils, which is why ‘farming’ in this area requires heavy applications of pesticides and fertilisers, the very things residents are being impacted by.  Growcom consistently expresses outrage whenever anyone suggests that agricultural activity in residential areas should be properly regulated, and that chemical use and storage should be subject to official oversight.  He loves to bang on about how farms are ‘heavily regulated’, but from our investigations, the only regulation we have discovered is the two day certificate course in chemical handling they are required to do every five years.  Why should we be expected to trust these chemical cowboys to do the right thing, when we’ve consistently experienced adverse events as a result of their actions?

And over the page:

Poor Joy Paterson! In 2010 she thought her problems with chemical spraydrift entering her home were over.  In 2012 I have on two occasions heard her complain about ongoing headaches as the spraying next door to her home continues.

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