There’s no love lost between Rose Valley neighbours Gerhard Baden and Ken Sandy, and things don’t look to be about to get any better.
Last December we report-ed that Kiama Council had voted to allow the Badens, of Shottlanders Wagyu in Rose Valley, to send their planning proposal for a micro-abattoir to the Department of Planning for a Gateway determination.
This was necessary to allow an exception to the Local Environment Plan which specifically excludes abattoirs from permitted land use. In 2013, a DA by the Badens for an abattoir was knocked back by Council on that basis.
Ken Sandy believes that should have been the end of the matter.
“Clearly I am intimately connected with the issue – I don’t want an abattoir across the road from my house,” he says. “But the bigger issue to me is that in 2013 they rejected the original application because it is prohibited.
“After two years seeking advice he has come back with a planning proposal that asks the same question.
“When the Council didn’t give him the same answer I was gob-smacked.
“If the local planning instrument is to have any value to the community, they should use it.”
The Badens believe that the abattoir they are proposing is not what was envisaged when that activity was excluded from the LEP.
Rather than the image the word conjures up, their micro-abattoir is designed for purely their own farm’s use, with a maximum capacity of two beasts a week.
They are currently transporting their animals up to Wilberforce monthly, a 6-7 hour round trip. They are using this abattoir because the other closer ones are no longer an option – Wollondilly, because they now won’t allow viewing of the process (which the Badens insist on to ensure their beasts and meat is treated well), and Milton, because their three year old beasts are so much bigger than the yearlings the plant is designed for.
It is for this latter reason that the Badens are currently on notice from Wilberforce, and the next closest option will be Casino in northern NSW.
Having made his own investigations, Ken Sandy is sceptical of this claim and many of the expert reports accompanying the proposal.
The abattoir will be housed in a purpose built 8mx11m shed, which will incorporate a knocking box and a cool room to hang the meat. It will be much smaller than the existing 20mx11m and 27mx11m sheds.
The Badens say a state-of-the-art on-site sewage treatment facility and effluent re-use scheme will ensure no smells or pollution of the Werri Lagoon catchment.
Again, Ken Sandy has strong doubts about the ability of this system to prevent pollution. This is particularly due to his fears that
the number of animals being processed could easily rise from the two per week currently proposed once the facility was up and running.
“Once he has permission for an abattoir, what is to stop him saying my business won’t survive unless I increase the size of the kill?” Ken says.
According to the Badens, this won’t happen because the facility is designed for low capacity. “The whole idea is to walk the animals right out of the paddock into the knocking box to keep their blood pressure as low as possible,” says Gerhard. “This is both humane and will allow us to get the best quality meat.”
The proposal also involves a 60 seat revolving restaurant on the hill.