North Shore Residents Group members Chris and Penny Macklin at the Moorpanyal Park playground. Picture: Mike Dugdale
A NORTH Shore action group is urging council to reject a proposed multi-million dollar grain terminal at the Geelong Port, saying the operation would pose a health and safety risk to nearby residents.
Currently pending approval from the City of Greater Geelong, the $15-$20 million terminal would have three silos and act as a base for US agribusiness Bunge, exporting around 450,000 tonnes per annum.
Mayor Darryn Lyons last month welcomed Bunge’s interest in the port, but the North Shore Residents Group (NSRG) argue the plan is “dismissive” of the potential impact on people living in about 200 nearby homes.
In a letter of objection sent to council and circulated among Northern suburbs residents, the group claims:
AN additional 100-200 truck movements each day would create traffic hazards and break up already failing road infrastructure, while a backlog of trucks could gridlock local roads.
PROPOSED 24 hour operation in peak periods would keep residents awake and deny “peaceful enjoyment” of neighbouring Moorpanyal park.
FUMIGATION of chemicals at the site would create an “unacceptable threat” given the proximity to the park, which includes a children’s playground.
THE proposal did not properly account for the impact of a dust explosion on nearby residents.
THE silos would create an increased likelihood of rats and pidgeons in the area.
NSRG president Bruce Cohen said about 40 people had attended an action meeting last week. He said the economic benefits of the terminal needed to be weighed against the “detrimental impact” on residents and roads.
“We feel there needs to be greater consideration and scrutiny around the impact on residents, particularly regarding truck traffic, noise and air pollution,” he said.
“There are houses, businesses and a children’s playground right next door and a lot of people are very worried.”
A Bunge spokesman said the company had been in contact with the NSRG and wanted to be on good terms with their potential neighbours. The company had offered to meet with the committee to “discuss issues in detail,” he said.
“Our planning documents were lodged with the City of Greater Geelong some weeks ago and now that people have had the opportunity to view them we are aware of a range of issues being raised,” he said.
“We look forward to the meeting as we are confident we can address their concerns.”
An assessment prepared for the project identified explosions within the grain terminal and use of toxic gases in the fumigation process as hazards, but noted systems would be adopted to further minimise the low risks. Homes would not be affected in the unlikely case of an explosion, the report states.