APPROVED: This Yandina ex-sewage treatment site gained fresh approval last week.
APPROVED: This Yandina ex-sewage treatment site gained fresh approval last week. Contributed

Future unclear for food producers following approval

THEY'RE disappointed and still a little in the dark as to just what an approval for a screening and crushing plant means for the future.

Yandina food industry operators are awaiting further briefings following the Sunshine Coast Council's approval of a food warehouse, vehicle depot and screening and crushing operation on a former Unitywater sewage treatment site in Focus Ln, Yandina.

Maudsley Excavations sought approval for the operations under the former Maroochy Plan 2000 in what is an industrial zone.

Under the planning regulations the proposal could have been for a range of industrial uses including sawmilling and concrete batching.


YOU'RE SHIPPING ME? This Yandina property could be about to transform from old sewage plant to industrial site.
LOCKED IN: Screening and crushing was approved among other uses on this Yandina site last week. Contributed

The proposal was opposed by a number of key players including Economic Development Queensland, the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Food and Agribusiness Network and the council's own economic development branch.

Agribusiness was highlighted in the council's regional economic development strategy as one of seven high-value industries the region's economy could be built around.

Operators were last week fearful of the impacts of an approval on organic and health certifications if nearby air quality was degraded through the screening and crushing operations.

Freeze Dry Industries director Michael Buckley said he was disappointed at the approval given last Thursday by the council but understood there were a number of conditions added.

He said he was waiting to learn more about what the impact of the approval and those conditions meant, hoping to have a briefing with Councillor Steve Robinson and the council's economic development team later this week.

"We're very disappointed by the outcome however we understand... all groups have to work together and as yet I'm not fully briefed on how that will happen," Mr Buckley said.

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me."

Last Thursday councillors made amendments to the proposal including that all complaints and investigation results be maintained and made available to the council at any time requested by the council.

They also placed a condition that the business operator submit a quarterly report including an extract from the complaints register.

The operator will also be required to provide to the council a copy of any complaint made and the subsequent corrective action undertaken within five business days of the complaint being made.

Sunshine Coast Food and Agribusiness Network chairman Andrew Eves-Brown said they were still working through the approval with the council to understand fully what it would mean in practice.

"We're obviously disappointed for FAN and the two members (Freeze Dry Industries and Epicurean Products)," Mr Eves-Brown said.

He said he hoped for an "open approach" from the developer and the food production operators in trying to find a mutually beneficial solution.

Niall Maudsley of Maudsley Excavations is overseas until next week and was unable to comment.

He'd previously told the Daily he was confident there would be no issues with containing any dust and debris from the screening and crushing operations to the site.