PLANS to build a new piggery in Narrikup are causing a stink amongst local residents who say it will deeply affect their quality of life.
The proposal, put forward by Milne AgriGroup, would see a rotational outdoor piggery operation process up to 8500 pigs at any one time with a maximum of 28,000 per year.
A group of Narrikup locals are filthy over the location of the proposed site, which is 2.5km east of Narrikup township on Lake Barnes Road.
Kerry Hill, who’s lived in Narrikup for nearly four years, has started a petition against the piggery that now has close to 800 signatures.
She said she had previously lived on a property that was close to a piggery and never wanted to go through the same experience again.
“Unless you’ve been near pigs, you have no idea how powerfully strong it is,” she said.
“It doesn’t just get into your clothes, it gets into your skin, it gets into your hair.”
Narrikup resident John Miell was concerned a regular breeze would blow the piggery’s smells directly into town.
Milne AgriGroup, which owns Plantagenet Free Range Pork and Mt Barker Chicken, wants to build the piggery to meet increasing demand for pork.
The company has an exclusive contract with Coles to supply it with free range pork.
But Mr Miell said there were other locations close by they could put the piggery which wouldn’t impact on a nearby township.
Shire of Plantagenet health laws stipulate a piggery should be no closer than 5km from the boundary of any townsite.
However, because the proposed piggery is an outdoor operation rather than an intensive indoor operation, there is more wiggle room on that 5km buffer.
Shire of Plantagenet Chief Executive Rob Stewart said Council had previously adopted, in consultation with industry, guidelines of a 500m buffer zone for rotational outdoor piggeries.
“There’s a big difference between the impact of outdoor rotational piggeries and intensive piggeries,” he said.
“We acknowledge intensive piggeries can have noise and smell which is why we have bigger buffer zones for them.
“We’ve got many piggeries within the Shire of Plantagenet and complaints regarding piggeries are very few and far between.”
Bev Hall, who runs a cattle farm and farm-stay accommodation next to the proposed site, said the industry regulations were far too lenient.
Mr Hall said he was worried his property’s value would plummet if the piggery went ahead.
“Speaking to the real estate agent they reckon that people won’t even want to look at our property if there is a pig farm next door,” he said.
Mr Stewart said the proposal would likely be voted on at the Shire’s June 16 Council meeting, and urged concerned Narrikup residents to trust the Council’s process.
“We are only gathering information at the moment,” he said.
“We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t consider it properly. That’s why we seek submissions, so we know what the concerns of people are.”
Ratepayers originally had until April 7 to make submissions on the proposal, but the Shire last week announced it would extend the cut-off date to April 30.