Holy row over church letter


THE Catholic Church at Kyogle has endorsed plans to create a controversial new industrial zone in Kyogle in a letter of support addressed to Kyogle Council.

At last month's Kyogle Council meeting, developer Richard Vary presented the letter, written by Kyogle parish priest Father Max Gow on Our Lady of Sorrows letterhead, along with about 40 other letters of support for an industrial estate on the southern entrance to the town.

Fr Gow said in his submission he was in favour of the new industrial estate as it would create local jobs.

"Like all towns we need, as a community, to provide jobs for our younger people so that if they do not wish to leave Kyogle they will not have to," he wrote.

"If all your stringent conditions are met then I see no reason why this development should not be approved."

However, a parishioner who did not want to be named and is opposed to the development, said he was angry that Fr Gow wrote the letter.

"Father Gow is not speaking for the whole congregation," he said.

"He should keep his nose out of it unless he knows the whole story."

Kyogle veterinary surgeon Joe McErlean said the letters of support were nothing more than a 'power poll' conducted by the developer.

Mr McErlean said he was worried the NSW Department of Planning would think there was wide community support for the proposal.

The department is responsible for deciding if the Kyogle Strategy for Closer Rural Settlement and Urban Expansion can be amended to allow for the development. All submissions on the matter will be forwarded to the department as part of the process.

"When the letters get to Sydney they are going to look at them and think the people of Kyogle must really want this new industrial zone," he said.

"But they are not representative of the community."

Mr McErlean said he was concerned about the aesthetic impact of the industrial estate. He believes there has been lack of community consultation and the council has tried to 'sneak this proposal past the community'.

Murray Boyd has lived in Kyogle for 74 years. Mr Boyd said he was sceptical about the council's promise to deal with water displacement at one of the new industrial zones, which is located in a flood zone.

"I know all about Kyogle Council because I worked for them for 22 years," he said.

"I own the property south of the development and I am worried about where the water will go."

"I've seen it all before, they have done this kind of thing in the past and got it all wrong. I want a guarantee in writing."

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