Blayney neighbours unhappy with plans for goat abattoir

UNHAPPY: A proposed goat abattoir near Blayney has neighbours up in arms.
UNHAPPY: A proposed goat abattoir near Blayney has neighbours up in arms.

A PLAN to build the state’s only goat specific abattoir just off the Newbridge Road near Blayney has riled neighbouring residents, who have voiced concerns about possible noise, smell and traffic problems associated with the new development and the impact it will have on their own business.

The $38 million project – which will see an abattoir with the capacity for 13,500 goats bolted-on to a freezer of the existing SeaLink site – will be located just across the road from Athol Gardens, a private residence which also has tourist accommodation and hosts a number of weddings and functions every year.

“I couldn’t think of two more conflicting businesses than an abattoir and a country wedding business,” Athol Gardens owner David Somervaille said.

“We have a successful garden wedding business. [It seems like a] transfer of value from us to them.”

Mr Somervaille said he was “totally disgusted” and felt “ambushed” with the way he had come to find out about the development.

“Wouldn’t it have been much better if we were consulted?” he asked.

Mr Somervaille and his wife Karen were among around 50 residents who were at a public information night held in Blayney last Thursday, which was designed to provide more details on a consortium’s plan to construct the abattoir via Ray Hornery, and a outline of the environmental side of the project by Nicole Armit from SLR Consulting.

The state-significant development – which means the NSW Department of Planning has the final say, not Blayney Shire Council – will be just the second goat abattoir in the nation, alongside another site in Queensland.

It will be an export-only operation, capitalising on Australia’s position as the world’s largest exporter of goat meat.

The abattoir will generate employment for around 165 people and likely operate five days a week, starting between 5am and 6am, with no overnight slaughter.

Residents at last week’s meeting highlighted the process will see trucks pass Millthorpe and Blayney public schools and Blayney High, before turning right into the main street and left onto Burns Street, proceeding by a retirement village.

The trucks will then turn left into a new access road, just past the Athol Gardens driveway.

While the abattoir will have the capacity for 13,500 goats, it is planned that only 4500 goats will be processed each day. That number of goats led to concerns about noise, but Mr Hornery said that the animals only make noise when they’re under pressure.

It is envisaged the environmental impact statement will be completed by mid-October, and once it has been deemed adequate by the Department of Planning, it will be placed on public exhibition, most likely in November.