By Luke Voogt
Campaigners have taken their fight against a planned Lara goat farm to City Hall, bombarding councillors with emails and submitting 2400 signatures against the proposal.
The No Nuchev Campaign group emailed a submission on Tuesday urging Geelong council to appeal the planned 4500-goat farm to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), according to organisor Bronwen Baker.
“We’re hoping that council is going to right the wrong that has been done, by appealing to VCAT,” the Animal Justice Party member and Lara resident said.
Planning lawyer Neil Longmore wrote the campaigners’ main submission and petition against Nuchev’s plans.
The submission hinges upon VCAT last year rejecting a permit for the company to build a larger goat farm in Moorabool due to fears of Q fever.
Q fever can trigger abortions in goats and causes flu-like symptoms and sometimes pneumonia in humans.
Section 87 of the Planning and Environment Act allows Geelong council to appeal the Lara permit on the grounds that the Moorabool decision was a change in circumstances since the issue of the permit.
“We’re still feeling positive – now that they know the risks for Moorabool, I just can’t see it going ahead for Lara,” Ms Baker said.
“Moorabool is very low density – it’s all rural with very large properties. The site in Lara is much closer to people than the one in Moorabool.
The campaigners sent more than 100 emails to each councillor but none had officially responded, Ms Baker said.
“There are more being sent all week.”
Geelong’s State-appointed administrators approved the planning permit for the Lara goat farm in 2016.
“We didn’t have elected councillors in then,” Ms Baker said.
“They ticked what they thought were all the boxes on the planning rules. They hadn’t engaged us enough to find out how the community feels.”
Ms Baker provided copy of the petition showing the campaigners had emailed it to every councillor plus chief executive officer Kelvin Spiller.
But the campaigners will have to wait until next Tuesday night to present the petition so council can “formerly receive” it.
“Then we will have hopefully a couple hundred people at the council meeting,” Ms Baker said.
“If they don’t appeal they’ll have a very, very upset community in Lara and we’d have to look at our other options to overturn it independently.“
Council would consider cancellation proceedings under Section 87 after formally receiving the petition, according to The City’s planning and development director Kelvin Walsh.
The City advertised the site at 240 Forest Road South, Lara, from 2 to 17 October, 2015, via signs fronting Forest Road South, and Broderick Road.
The City sent 252 letters to surrounding property owners and occupiers, Mr Walsh said.
“The City is aware of the community’s concerns in regards to the planning permit issued for 240 Forest Road South, Lara.”