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March 22, 2023

Chook farmer vows to remove sheds

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[author]Steve Spencer[/author]

A rogue poultry farmer who has been defying a court order to remove two huge chicken sheds from his Cudgen property has been given extra time to close down his operation.

Dean Sikiric was ordered by Tweed Council in August to dismantle the sheds and remove his 4000 chickens and again, in December, by the NSW Environment Court.

The court can heavily fine and imprison anyone found guilty of contempt of its orders.

But Mr Sikiric has now promised his chooks will be gone by 15 February and councillors this week voted unanimously to postpone considering further legal action until after that date.

Chief planner Vince Connell told councillors he had received legal advice that Mr Sikiric’s offer was ‘reasonable’, considering the cost to ratepayers of further court action.

Mr Sikiric erected the sheds and relocated the birds from his free-range egg operation near Ipswich in July last year. They have been stinking out neighbours ever since.

Neighbours complained about noise and foul odours. More troubling was the pollution threat to nearby waterways, with dead birds scattered about the property and red sludge found in a nearby dam.

A council report last year said that Mr Sikiric did not live on the property and ‘does not have to endure the daily impacts’ of the pollution which neighbours must endure ‘all day, every day’.

Council staff said they warned Mr Sikiric that council approval would be needed to set up the poultry farm, but he build two large sheds anyway. He had plans to increase his flock of fowl to 12,000, just before council mounted the court action.

On 9 December Justice Terry Sheahan ordered that the sheds and poultry be ‘quickly’ removed from the property. His order specified the chickens should be gone by 30 December and the sheds dismantled by 18 January. He also awarded legal costs to council, which have yet to be determined.

Mr Sikiric did not return Echonetdaily’s phone calls.

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