A MASSIVE chicken farm proposal for Elbow Valley capable of growing up to nearly three million birds at a time may be headed for partial refusal after yesterday's general council meeting.
Councillors were presented with a 183-page report from officers on the application by the New South Wales-based Carr Farming Trust to establish their operation on the former Leitch Pastoral Group site of Condamine River Meats off Cullendore Road.
The plan is for 48 sheds on five concrete pads, with each shed capable of housing and feeding 60,000 broiler or meat chickens at a time, a of total 2.8 million birds at full capacity.
The Carr Farming Trust had indicated the operation could alternatively be used for breeding, which would involve 720,000 birds at a time, but the Southern Downs Regional Council assessed it on the basis of a broiler farm which would be higher impact.
Broiler farms bring in day-old chicks from hatcheries and grow the meat chickens out over eight weeks before processing, with some birds taken out earlier to meet demand for smaller chickens.
More than 30 public objections were received, with the common themes being concerns about odour and noise, along with potential contamination of water supplies and the impact of heavy vehicles.
Council officers advised the plan could not comply with State Government odour regulations and that it could also have noise impacts on neighbouring properties.
As a result, the planning department recommenced approval of 28 sheds only, with no less than 267 conditions ranging from environmental controls to odour management and water protection.
Councillors yesterday deferred a decision until the January round of meetings.
Carr Farming Trust spokesman Brad Carr said he was not disappointed at the recommended partial refusal, as State Government odour criteria had changed after the application was lodged.
"Those changes happened halfway through the assessment process," Mr Carr said.
"We'll have a good look at the conditions the council wants and we'll do what's needed to comply and get along with our neighbours.
"The proposal is moving along and that's the main thing for us."
The news on the Carr plan follows the lodgement last week of a separate application for a broiler farm on the former Danpork site at Pratten.
Proponent Sam Fessey wants to build a 13-shed facility which at full operation could grow out 676,000 birds at a time. Public comments on the Fessey plan will not open until the new year.