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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Distillery plan a recipe for disaster

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Elizabeth Tomlinson, Middle Pocket.

I am a farmer on Middle Pocket Road. My parents were farmers and my grandparents were farmers. All my extended family were farmers. Like many, I left the Northern Rivers when I was young and did not return until last year when I purchased a working farm with Lacks Creek running the full length of the property. This property was a huge investment because of the excellent water supply with Lacks Creek being my only water source.

Our climate can be unpredictable and by the end of last year I was buying in water because we were in drought – the creek had stopped running, algae was building up in the waterways, and there was an increase in mosquitoes breeding in the stagnant water. The locals informed me it was the worst condition they had seen the creek in living memory, for 40 -50 years. If the BSC approves this Distillery (DA 10.2016.575.1) then this situation will become normal for Lacks Creek.

This distillery venture has the capacity to draw 53 million litres of water per year directly from the waterways. This will devastate the water supply to Middle Pocket and surrounding areas and if the BSC accepts this venture in the terms stated then they would be responsible for the demise of this valley and surrounding farming communities.

Middle Pocket Road is on my land – the land on which I pay substantial rates each year. I do not provide permission for trucks carrying highly flammable liquids to cross my property. We live in a bush fire zone with only one access road. A truck accident with a load of alcohol could not only destroy my life, my home and property, but this whole region.

This industrial development is not micro, but 78 times greater than the size of our local distillery. This is an industrial venture that should be located in an industrial area with the necessary safety controls and facilities. The road cannot support the regular use of heavy trucks when it is not even 3 metres wide in places.

In conclusion, prior to any acceptance of this venture it would be irresponsible of the BSC not to commission an extensive study to determine the impact of the removal of 53 million litres of water per year, the extent of the added fire risk for this community, and finally, further investigations need to done to determine the safety of Middle Pocket Road. I do not and will not agree to highly flammable dangerous goods being transported over my property.

 


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1 COMMENT

  1. There are many in the community who share Elizabeth’s concerns over the proposed Distillery in Middle Pocket. Massive water use, serious traffic issues and the hazards associated with the alcohol industry will have a major impact on the community and the environment. Industrial activity like a dangerous distillery must be located in safe, monitored industrial complex (perhaps Billinudgel!) with all the appropriate fire, health and safety standards. Allowing this development in a remote, rural, heavily forested area, with only one access road is outrageous – a recipe for disaster – and Splendour festival site is not that far away.

    Council would be crazy to let this one through!

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