The Jimboomba Times reported that the representative of Harvest Road farmers, Ms Debra Manendis, has withdrawn her appeal to the Land and Environment Court against Logan City Council. And rightly bloody so! here’s the article:
We believe this appeal was only lodged in an attempt to distress and/or intimidate the almost 60 residents who had written objection letters to their plans to turn an open farm into another intensive horticulture (igloo) operation. (You can read these letters on the ‘page’ titled ‘The Big 58. The impacts residents reported from existing farms of this type were completely unacceptable in a residential area, as any reasonable person could easily deduce in a few minutes of reading.)
Logan City Council in this case heeded our concerns and rejected the application. Ms Manendis’ appeal process included serving legal papers on EVERY person who objected via Certified Mail. Although the appeal was against Council and its decision, a number of residents were concerned that they themselves might be sued for daring to object in writing, and it appears Ms Manendis was keen for them to believe this was so, even going so far as to visit the elderly residents of the property adjoining the farm in question and informing them that they will need a lot of money if they want the farm stopped. (Had it gone ahead, these poor, frail elderly residents of over 30 years would have had crop spraying and fertilising happening within 15 metres of their living room!)
Despite her propensity for legal threats, it’s my understanding that public comments such as those above can only be deemed slanderous if they are untrue. The allegations above are definitely true and easily verified. Other sneaky tactics, such as playing fast and loose with the rules of public notification, have been well-documented on this blog. That these people thought they could move into an inhabited area, clearfell entire blocks and set up noxious, toxic industries close to homes, and get away with it, is beyond belief. It’s incontrovertible that serious impacts have been experienced on our amenity, wildlife, drainage, property values and the health and safety of adults, children and domestic animals over recent years.
We appreciate Logan City Council backing the residents in this case, but would also like to point out that before residents started this campaign it appeared that our whole neighborhood was set to be turned into series of farms that would surround our homes on all sides, with the full support of Council. Our campaign has resulted in (to quote the JT) ‘stronger restrictions on agricultural production in rural residential areas’ in the new draft Logan City Planning Scheme. So I would like to publicly thank all the people who joined in this campaign (you all know who you are), and make particular mention of David Hogan, whose relentless, years-long efforts on our behalf would have been worth several hundred thousand dollars, had he been on a fair wage for his work. David is a wonderful, community-minded neighbor who we are very sorry to see leave the area.
Just before Christmas 2013, we were shocked and dismayed to see LCC attempt to enshrine Amendment 1C in the soon-to-be-defunct Beaudesert Planning Scheme, we suspect so that they could then claim to just be rolling over old rules into the new scheme. This Amendment would have reduced required buffer areas down to only 10-20 metres between farming activities and homes, which is clearly inadequate and a serious health and safety risk to those who live nearby. A big THANKYOU to all the residents who sat down and wrote to Council YET AGAIN, objecting to this ploy. As a result of many letters to Council, and State and Federal Government departments, Amendment 1C was stymied just in time. As a result, 50 metre buffer zones will now be required. This is a far cry from the 40 metres (vegetated) and 300metres (across open ground) buffers recommended by the Qld State Gov Planning guidelines, but it’s certainly better than what Logan council was trying to force on us. Here’s how the JT reported this:
For poor Mr Griffiths, this is all too little, too late. Council’s inaction in his case over so many years has seriously impacted on his property, forcing Mr Griffiths to take the offending farmers to court as an individual, in an attempt to recover the tens of thousands of dollars that will be required in order to rectify the damage to his drainage and general amenity caused by farms located on either side of him. We have little doubt that he will win this case, as no reasonable person could condone what he has had to endure.
On a personal note, I’m hopeful that Logan council will now abandon it’s campaign of demonising residents who object to inappropriate development and start governing for we residents. An apology from a certain councillor, (and his bully boy mate at Growcom, whose disgusting campaign against us in the local press helped them dig their own hole to fall into) wouldn’t go astray either. But I’m not holding my breath. We will be attending council meetings to look over the new draft planning scheme to ensure this issue has been properly put to bed.
It’s my hope that I can now return to my real writing work and that this will no longer need to be my primary blog, or blogging activity. Stay tuned for some much more interesting, and non-political, writing on my blog, lizhalldowns.com, in the near future.