A dog breeding facility for up to 120 dogs and 100 puppies has been approved by the Edward River Council for property in Warragoon.
This is despite the application for development from the dog breeding facility which received 33 objections from residents during the 14-day exposure period.
The BD has been reviewed at council several times since it was submitted, with councilors taking longer to make a final decision, due to the complexity and scale of the project.
After being postponed in March, the board finally voted on the proposal at its Tuesday meeting.
In March, advisers agreed that “questions about the terms of consent” on the DA meant they were inclined to delay the decision.
The DA’s motion to approve Tuesday passed by a majority, with five out of eight votes in favour.
Councilors Tarria Moore, Pat Fogarty and Marc Petersen all voted against the concurrence motion.
Cr Fogarty said that due to strong community sentiment, she could not vote to approve the installation.
“In my time on the board, I have never seen so many objections,” Cr Fogarty said.
“Maybe we can push these things a little harder – maybe the state government can take this up and consider legislation that prevents these kinds of developments.”
The area faced similar unrest with a dog farm in Moama in the Murray River Council which saw 30,000 people sign a petition against the approval of this DA.
The Moama facility can hold 200 dogs and up to 120 puppies, and was approved in April last year despite nationwide uproar.
Large-scale dog-breeding facilities have been heavily restricted in Victoria as community attitudes towards them have changed, but in New South Wales they are permitted if they comply with regulations.
Edward River Council chief executive Phil Stone said the council was not required to consider the ethical ramifications of ADs, but rather whether they had a negative impact on town planning or failed to respect legal regulations.
“There are a lot of emotional topics and feelings from the community,” Stone said.
Most of the objections sent to the ERC challenged the ethics of keeping up to 220 animals in converted sheds on the property, while a few came from neighbors who were concerned about increased noise and traffic .
“The RSPCA have been contacted for their views on the facility and they have not responded, and (council) officers found there did not appear to be any environmental effects from the land use. for dog breeding,” Stone said.
Owners of the Warragoon property, Deborah and Andrew Lee, already run a 30-animal breeding facility at their property on Birganbigil Rd and say they do so for “the passion of breeding dogs and providing wonderful animals pets that are well socialized”.
Mr. Lee and another co-owner, Mark Crevatin, were named on documents submitted in the original DA.
Ms Lee said they were “pretty happy” with the approval.
“We worked with the board and addressed any concerns they had,” she said.
Business owners are required to meet the legal noise abatement parameters and other factors of the facility, which they did.
“The concerns raised by the immediate neighbors were mainly about noise, so we moved the building (to house the dogs) further away from them to lessen the impact,” said Ms Lee, who pointed out that they were “doing doing things ethically” as long-time dog breeders.
“They (the dogs) are all kept in very good conditions,” she said.
Councilor Harold Clapham voted in favor of the development, arguing that the local government should not choose which businesses are set up in Edward River, as long as they follow procedure.
“I absolutely respect that position (of Cr Fogarty), and I think these are issues that people think they struggle with,” Cr Clapham said.
“There are a lot of things I vehemently disagree with – I (would) consider poker machines and gambling to be a much bigger risk to the community than dog breeding.
“I think we can’t be ‘open for business’ on the basis that we choose which companies we’re open to.
“If you follow all the rules and stipulations, we as counsel will support you to run your business and continue your livelihood,” Cr Clapham said.