NEWS THAT MATTERS

Feedlot raises concerns

A 1000 cattle feedlot in a rural residential area has the Mangrove Mountain community up in arms and has raised concerns about the proposed activity in Hershon Road. A DA has been submitted for the proposed feedlot but local residents are uneasy about the noise, smell and the adverse environmental impacts that will occur.

 

There is additional concern about the well-being of the cattle - susceptibility to heat stress, aggression, chronic stress and difficulty in handling – and expected increase in traffic on narrow roadways from the regular removal of animal waste and the daily delivery of feed and the resultant smell of cattle in a confined area.

Mangrove Mountain residents unanimously vote no to the proposed cattle feedlot.

17 May 2023

ALAN HAYES

 

THE Mangrove Mountain community came out in force last Friday (12 May 2023) at the historic community hall to discuss a proposed cattle feed station on a recently purchased property on the corner of Ironbark and Hershon Roads.

 

Once briefed on the size, scale and nature of the operation, the group were unanimous in their strong opposition to what they consider to be "unsustainable, unsuitable and totally out of character" for the picturesque rural landscape.

 

The company behind the feedlot proposal, Farrugia Cattle, said in their DA that they will need to supply 20,000 litres of water a day to the cattle. They will be constructing twelve 50,000 litre rain water tanks, which they estimate will provide 600,000 litres of water annually, leaving a shortfall of 2.8 million litres – this will be provided by bore water.

 

Farrugia’s assumptions for providing ample rainwater supply have been based on the current La Nina weather events, according to Mangrove Mountain resident Alex Stewart. “They do not take into account when we have extreme dry weather conditions, without rainfall.”

 

“Local farmers are dependent upon the groundwater and with millions of litres being extracted for cattle, it will have an adverse impact on local produce farming activities,” Mr Stewart said.

 

“With drought conditions all that cattle urine will leach into the ground water and Popran Creek and create further problems for local farmers.”

 

Runoff from the feed lot has a high risk of polluting Popran creek, causing contamination effecting both the environment and the farmers who use water from this creek. The rear of the Farrugia proposed feedlot property slopes into the creek. Popran Creek and groundwater aquifers are also an integral part of the Central Coast’s drinking water catchment.

 

Farrugia Cattle said in their DA application that drainage and retention basins are to be used to divert all surface water runoff generated within the proposed development footprint – this still raises the question: Where will that contaminated runoff end up?

 

The rural areas of the Central Coast are well-known for their extended drought conditions and the impact that this proposal will have on groundwater and creek systems.

Site plan of the proposed cattle feedlot development.

Alex Stewart, who facilitated the recent community meeting, said, "The proposed commercially driven feedlot is completely unsuitable for this rural and residential area, where many established surrounding houses, and approved building envelopes would be severely and detrimentally affected by noise, water, dust and odour pollution”.

 

The owners of this development will not live on site and therefore will not be impacted by any the negative effects of a cattle feed lot - it will be borne by the locals.

 

Of concern to local residents is the high levels of methane gas that will be produced, the risk of animal disease, which is inherent in this type of concentrated farming activity, spreading to other farmers and E. coli bacteria that is often found in animal waste - feedlots confine cows to small spaces filled with faecal matter, E. coli contamination is inevitable. Feedlot waste is also likely to contain other pollutants that can be harmful to the environment -cleaning agents, silage leachate, chemicals used in livestock care, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, ammonia and heavy metals.

 

Nearby resident Jessica Gottlieb said, "I hoped to build our dream equestrian property in this amazing location. One that is unquestionably rural and residential in character. Our approved building envelope is now threatened by the perpetual noise, air, water and odour pollution which this commercial feedlot would generate for 1000 cattle."

 

Mr Stewart added, "While we appreciate the property owners' right to lodge a development application, this particular proposal is completely unsuitable for this area and needs to be refused. Community members are very open to meeting with the property owner to see if we can discuss other viable options for this parcel of land."

 

John Dickinson, who resides with his wife Linda on the adjoining lot and graze a small herd of cattle said "We believe we will be forced off our land if this development is approved. It is a well-known fact that the stench of these operations is terrible. That alone is of great concern to all the locals we speak to. There's also the biosecurity risk of such a high density feed station, with disease and stress being factors that concern us all greatly. If this goes ahead, it will undoubtedly destroy our farmstay as no one will want to have a weekend away next to an unsightly and stinky feedlot".

 

Mr Stewart added, “We wouldn’t put a rocket launching pad in a residential area, so why would we allow a cattle feedlot in one? We purchased our property for its conservation value, natural beauty and potential for it to be a private equestrian property where we could enjoy a peaceful lifestyle. Our life is currently on hold and if this thing goes ahead we would have to reconsider where we live and take a massive financial hit on our future family home.”

 

“It was evident at the meeting that this proposal is causing residents to feel quite distressed. It's worth noting that there are no other feed stations of this size and scale in Mangrove Mountain. We are extremely concerned that if approved, it could set a precedent that would mean the end of our way of life."

 

The Mangrove Mountain community is looking for the support of the greater Central Coast community to sign their petition (https://chng.it/ghXSKwvX), read the DA documents (https://bit.ly/3nWjUkC) and make a submission to council to put an end to this unacceptable proposal.

 

The group also discussed contacting local Traditional Custodians regarding known Aboriginal sites in the area that may be impacted and urged the community to join their Facebook group (Mangrove Mountain Feedlot Objectors) or email (alex@asdigital.com.au) for information regarding making a submission.

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