Nursery giant's plans could affect water, views on Plateau
ONE of the country's biggest wholesale nursery suppliers has revealed plans for a new plant-growing facility on the Northern Rivers.
The $2 million project for a site at Rous Mill, near Alstonville, would include five greenhouses.
According to documents lodged with Ballina Shire Council by planners Newton Denny Chapelle, the proponent is Dan's Plants, a company that started in Victoria in 1995.
The company has since expanded to become one of the largest wholesale nurseries in Australia, and supplies plants to landscapers, councils, major retailers, garden centres and florists.
Dan's Plants' proposed greenhouses at Rous Mill would grow potted plants for wholesale distribution to nurseries and retail outlets.
But some nearby residents have raised serious concerns about the proposed development.
Eoin Johnston, who lives across the road from the site, has lodged a submission against the proposal, saying it would destroy his rural views.
He also raised concerns about water use and overflow.
"It (the proposal) does not 'enhance the natural resource base' which is 'state significant farmland' consisting of rich red volcanic soil in what is deemed to be the premium farming area of the Alstonville plateau,” Mr Johnston wrote in his submission.
"It will not, in fact, use any red soil for the production of hydroponically grown potted flowers.
"I understand the zoning allows such industry but the arguments over the years about needing to protect our 'food bowl' land at all costs ring hollow.
"Had macadamia trees been planted, they would have also robbed us of our views but most people would accept that.
"Eight hectares of white plastic greenhouses is a far less palatable proposition and is, I suggest, incompatible and inappropriate.”
In another objection lodged with the council, Rous residents C and M Paddon said they were concerned the development would "put further pressure on already over-allocated water accessibility”.
"If Ballina Shire Council encourages this type of high water-usage, potentially environmentally damaging enterprise, we fear a precedent may result in many more operations seeking to utilise the subtropical climate, which hastens growth of many varieties of plants, but does little to address benefits for the area, such as employment,” the Paddons wrote in their submission.
"Additionally, road usage by larger vehicles will add to maintenance required on this country road.”
The development application is on public exhibition until July 25. For more information, visit www.ballina.nsw.gov.au and click on the "DAs online” link.