This is a story about Warrnambool in Victoria....on the Great Ocean Road. We are struggling to stop heavy industrial development right in our town, about 9 blocks from the CBD! The people who live in Merrivale, the little community directly under the factories, are struggling to be heard.
1: Proposed Midfield's 12 storey milk factory
2: Propose Midfield's 11 storey freezer storage unit
3: The Warrnambool Hospital and Cancer Center, servicing 120,000 people
4: Merrivale Primary School
5: Liebig St centre of CBD ( the actual centre is located near the word Warrnambool )
6: Merri Wetland
7: Near my house
8: Brauer Secondary College
9: Lake Pertobe
10: City Council offices, Lighthouse Theatre, Fun4Kids Venue: Civic Green, Art Gallery and restaurants
11: Childcare centre
12: Whale nursery
Between 8 and 12 are another 3 childcare centers, 3 secondary colleges, 4 primary schools, 6 medical centers, 3 dentists, 6 churches, sports centers, shopping centers and so on. In short, the entire township of Warrnambool is concentrated into a small area.
Merrivale Primary School is a mere six houses away from the proposed factory and freezer unit. Some students are anaphylactic, asthmatic and have other allergies. Because a number of the Merrivale school parents work at Midfields the school has not voiced one single concern about the erection of a huge, 12 storey milk factory emitting at least 16 kg of milk dust per day into the air their students will breathe.
Currently, there are three huge milk factories all just a short drive from the Warrnambool CBD; two just west of Warrnambool in Koroit and Dennington and another on the Eastern fringe, in Allansford. Do we really need one more large milk factory and freezer unit right in the heart of Warrnambool? That would make four factories...all emitting more than 16 kg of milk dust into our air every day.
Do you know about the milk dust and what it does to those who live within a twelve block radius and even further afield on windy days....which is almost always? It settles on roofs and cars, stops solar energy production, contaminates water tanks and irritates our lungs.
Many of the people of Merrivale are worried and stressed about the effects this heavy industry will have on their health. Some are already suffering from anxiety and depression. All the other industry in Warrnambool is, so far, light industry. It will change the nature of our town...just a few blocks from the CBD.
Colin McKenna employs many overseas workers in Midfield Meats abattoir. This despite the fact that Warrnanbool has the highest rate of youth unemployment in Victoria. I have been told by a reliable source that many young people who have applied for work at Midfields and have been accepted, are turned away everyday in favour of overseas workers.
McKenna will import milk from Queensland....because there is not enough local milk to supply him....So it will not be sourced locally.
The demand for power is so great the grid is not enough. Even now McKenna runs gas generators to supply peak power to the abattoir. The generators are heard across Merrivale and on still night can prevent residents from falling asleep. Though gas is better than coal it's still a fossil fuel and is by no means sustainable. How much more electricity will be needed to run the 12 storey milk factory and 11 storey freezer unit?
Merrivale in Warrnambool, is an inappropriate place for such heavy industry, that will be bigger than Fonterra, Dennington. Go to the abattoirs and see for yourself where it will be built. See for yourself how close to town it will be and to the residences, school, kinders, day care centers and the hospital. There will not be just one factory but two huge factories,towering over the community of Merrivale, polluting their air, creating noise pollution and changing the nature of our beautiful, tourist city.
Another group of people own house blocks in Eccles St. The Warrnambool City Council Planning Department has deemed the road too narrow for subdivision though before the owner bought the land, it promised to widen the street, to open the way for house blocks. So the owner was given permission to subdivide the land.
Since then Council has sold land to Colin McKenna to build the two huge industrial buildings and the Eccles St. property owner is either no longer permitted to subdivide or he realizes he won't be able to sell the land as residential. So he's hoping to turn it into more industrial land, just a few blocks from our restaurants, motels and beaches. It's insane.
And by the way...I'm not responding to this as a Green...though I'm sure the Greens who live both here and elsewhere, being a reasonable group of people, will agree with these points. I'm responding as someone who lives here and will also be effected by such inappropriate developments. Both my son and I have asthama and other allergic responses as do probably half the population.
Colin McKenna has land all over SW Victoria. Perhaps he could build his factories away from residential areas....perhaps somewhere near Woolsthorpe or Mortlake, where there are paddocks on which the milk dust can settle and biodegrade....and where there is bore water to access. He could create settling ponds and whatever else is required to treat the waste it will produce. There are places on the rail line where he could build sidings to use cargo trains. It is possible.
I'm not saying I'm against milk factories or industrialization but the time for deliberately allowing such developments to bring harm to humans, wild life and surrounds and to ruin a whole town and communities for the sake of a few jobs or for anything else...is well and truly in the past....or so it should be.
This is the Dennington milk factory just a couple of kms West from the proposed new Midfields milk factory in Warrnambool.
This is the factory the East side of Warrnambool in Allansford.
And here's the milk factory further West, in Koroit.
And the Warrnambool Council Planning Department want to allow another one, right in the town. All of this for just 30 jobs, that could be 30 jobs 30km north...away from any harm!
Can you help us fight this? Please contact me if you can help in any way.