'People over frogs' as council approves free-range piggery
A POTENTIAL $30,000 legal bill has not stopped council from approving a free-range piggery at Lawrence.
Councillor Arthur Lysaught said the piggery would create jobs and it was time to put "people over frogs" when he launched a motion calling for its approval at the recent Clarence Valley Council meeting.
But Greens Cr Greg Clancy said the environmental studies in the report to council relied on outdated material and did not comply with the standards required for such studies.
During questions deputy mayor Jason Kingsley inquired about the potential cost to council if the decision triggered legal action.
Environment, planning and community director Des Schroder said costs generally ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 but would likely cost more in this case due to the need for expert witnesses.
Cr Lysaught said town planner Damian Chappelle had in his deputation to the committee last week repeated a number of times that the piggery complied with all the regulations in the Environmental Protection Act.
"I listened to the deputation from the applicant last week who said there would be full-time employment for five people at the piggery," Cr Lysaught said. "It's time we put people over frogs. If we pay a consultant $6000, we should accept what they say."
Cr Clancy said the consultant had based his report on work done in 2004 and the field studies amounted to a two-hour drive over the property earlier this year.
He said a typical field study would require three nights or four days at the site, trapping animals and gathering flora samples.