In late 2011, residents made submissions regarding a DA to turn the above property’s open farming setup to an igloo-style Intensive Horticulture operation. Given the problems we had already experienced from the same landowner’s similar change of use that had already occurred across the road, the residents were keen to let Council know that we did not want this DA to be approved.
The community needs to see these submissions, which detail the difficulties some residents have encountered because of these farms being located so close to their homes. They make sobering reading, especially when it’s pointed out that residents have been begging two successive councils for action on this matter for EIGHT LONG YEARS now.
Fifty-six (or thereabouts) Objection submissions are posted here; we have been unable to locate a further five objections that we know were submitted because we have copies of the acknowledgement letters, notably one from the Logan and Albert Conservation Association. The first link contains the bulk of submissions; the second is a long, 58 page one from B. Ward, and the remainder are an over 100 page examination of the planning scheme and a point by point argument about how the proposed development does not comply (D. Hogan).
As an aside, I’d like to note that all of the submissions were available to be viewed by the public on Council’s website, including addresses, phone numbers, and, worryingly, signatures. This is not good practice in this age of internet fraud and identity theft, and we would ask Council to protect the privacy and security of correspoondents more rigorously in future. If this is not done, many residents will be reluctant to make submissions if they cannot be guaranteed their personal details won’t be made public. We’ve blacked out all of the personal details we’ve been able to (in some cases this has been difficult from pdf files). Because what’s most important is that people can read what the residents have to say.
Of course, if you receive an email from Councillors, this little gem will appear on the bottom: Privacy Collection Notice. Logan City Council may collect your personal information, e.g. name, residential address, phone number etc, in order to conduct its business and/or meet its statutory obligations. The information will only be accessed by employees and/or Councillors of Logan City Council for Council business related activities only. If your personal information will be passed onto a third party, Council will advise you of this disclosure, the purpose of the disclosure and reason why. Your information will not be given to any other person or agency unless you have given us permission or we are required by law. Third party? Who do they mean there? The entire internet, from the looks of things! Anyone can access the objections attached to DAs on council’s website, as long as they know the reference numbers to type in. Then they can steal your personal details and a forgeable signature with impunity.
(Please note that some of the files below are very large, and may take a while to load.)
Residents felt particularly strongly about this application as the neighbours to the proposed farm are elderly, have lived there for 25 years, and would have had to live with greenhouses very close to their home if the application was approved. (Interestingly, despite being most directly affected, their two individually-penned submissions were counted by Logan City Council as only one.) The only Objection submission from outside the immediate area was from a person in Booval, who intended to move back to live here in the family home in the future.
On the Support side, one letter was resubmitted seventeen times, with only the names and addresses changed, and several of these submissions were signed by the applicant, or the applicant’s family members and employees in support of their own Development Application(!) One Harvest Rd household (the only one that supported the development) sent in two submissions from the one person, both of which Council initially accepted as valid submissions. All other Support submissions came from outside Greenbank – from Browns Plains, Park Ridge, New Beith and Sunnybank Hills.
We were unimpressed with this obvious attempt to skew the numbers, and a petition was made to Council during the comment period pointing out these anomalies, and showing that the majority of the signatories to the 17-times-repeated letter seemed unable to spell their own names, or even correctly identify the streets they claimed to reside in – casting serious doubts on their letters’ veracity. This Petition appears at the end of the ‘Support’ file.
There was, in addition, one very good submission in support of the DA from the Workplace Health and Safety Representative from the Farmers’ Association, Logan Area. His description of his own farming practices left us thinking, ‘If only the farms out here operated in the way that this person clearly does, we would not have such a big problem’. Unfortunately, farmers from outside Greenbank and their supporters seem to find it difficult to believe that anyone else in their industry could be doing the wrong thing as regards best practice.
Another disturbing anomaly was the Independent Town Planner’s efforts to show compliance with the Sustainable Planning Act by posting the required public notices of the DA in the local media. Twice these were put in the Beaudesert Times, which we do not receive in this area, instead of the Jimboomba Times, which is delivered to every home. We believe this was done deliberately to keep residents in the dark about the DA, and we are amazed that Logan City Council accepted this paperwork as being in compliance. To our eyes, this paperwork does not appear to comply with the law that requires residents be properly notified, and seems to us simply an attempt to window-dress a less-than-honest process.
At last, the residents had a win! Logan City Council refused the application. The link below is Council’s written reasons for this decision:
And here is how this was reported in the JT:
The residents were delighted, feeling that at last we had seen a turnaround in Council’s previously intransigent attitude.
But, refusing to accept the umpire’s decision, the applicant decided to take LCC to the Planning and Environment Court, and served notice on all of the residents who had lodged objections.
This matter was subject to mediation on August 30, 2012, where no solution was reached. The applicants requested an adjournment until December 2013 – no doubt in the hope their mates on Council will bodgy the rules to accommodate them. This is a reasonable expectation, given the shenanigans we have seen so far.
The files above show the submissions from both sides, as well as the Town Planner’s paperwork, and the residents’ petition to have the anomalous submissions rejected due to their illegitimacy. We challenge anyone to read the residents’ submissions about living in close proximity to these intensive farms and not feel sorry for them and the conditions they have been forced to live with.