By Jeremy Sollars
Allora residents who are leading the charge against the town’s GrainX facility are furious that a report to councillors at today’s council meeting in Warwick will be discussed in a confidential session.
As reported in the Free Times in recent months scores of Allora residents say their lives have been made a living hell by the grain handling facility, due to noise, chemical-laden dust and trucks.
They have also alleged that GrainX has flouted council conditions requiring the planting of mature trees around the perimeter of the site which are still not in place despite GrainX starting up at its site at South and Herbert streets more than two years ago.
As reported last week, councillors were expecting to receive a report from council officers on noise and dust monitoring completed by GrainX consultants Pacific Environment.
Residents were hoping to be able to view the report as part of the council agenda before today’s council meeting, but the item has been listed in the closed session of the meeting with the agenda stating it “contains information relating to the starting or defending of legal proceedings”.
Council has previously stated it will engage legal counsel to force GrainX to comply with all of its approval conditions, but the residents remain angry at the length of time they say GrainX has been able to operate outside its approval.
The council has also announced it will seek to re-zone the GrainX site from its current zoning as ‘low density residential’ to ‘industry’, which the residents fear will mean it’s there to stay.
Herbert Street resident Neil Bower said the residents of the street “and Allora in general” had been waiting to finally get a chance to see if there is “any hope for a resolution to the dust and noise nuisance caused by GrainX activities only to be grossly disappointed at the eleventh hour”.
“What happened to the transparency that council reckons they use with its ratepayers?” he said.
“This report is the only ray of light in a long dark tunnel that has kept us half sane for all these months, waiting and hoping.
“I honestly think council owes us this report, especially since the Grainx issue from inception has been handled so poorly.
If nothing else, a simple pass or fail on both issues, noise and dust, would suffice for now.”
The Free Times contacted GrainX CEO Chris Hood for comment about the current concerns of residents, but he declined to speak publicly at this time.
Mr Hood did respond to a rumour that GrainX had been sold to overseas interests, saying this was “categorically untrue”.
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