Griffith City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, February 1 to discuss the Terra Ag development saga.
The meeting comes following Agronomy Company successful in their appeal to contest a decision by the Land and Environment Court of NSW.
Terra Ag had taken Griffith City Council to the court in a bid to reverse its development application (DA) refusal to build its business next to a Sikh Temple off the Kidman Way.
Griffith City Council confirmed they were entering into mediation with Terra Ag on Monday, January 29.
Following Thursday’s meeting, a further report be presented to Council on February 13.
The special meeting will commence at 7pm on Thursday at council chambers. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Griffith’s Sikh community argued it was inappropriate for the development to be located next to their most sacred place.
In July, the Sikhs rejoiced as the Land and Environment Court of NSW dismissed Terra Ag’s case, on the grounds its proposed development could be “characterised as a heavy industrial storage facility” and is therefore “prohibited” in that zone.
Terra Ag appealed this decision, and the court upheld their appeal – ruling the July judgement, it failed to prove the development could be classed as a heavy industrial storage facility.
“The Senior Commissioner’s reasons reveal that the Senior Commissioner failed to undertake, according to law, the task of determining whether part of the proposed development met each of the elements of the descriptive criterion in the definition of “heavy industrial storage establishment,” the decision read.
It was found the Senior Commissioner did not make the proper findings in order to satisfy the definition of a heavy industrial storage establishment.
The new judgment however has not finalised the case but only determined that the development was not prohibited.
The appeal was made on six grounds, three of which were upheld.
The case will now be brought back before the courts next year. As the Senior Commissioner is retiring, it will be determined by another Commissioner or Judge.
Griffith City Council blocked Terra Ag’s development last year after it was met by opposition.
An Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel recommended Council approve the development in 2016.
Former Councillor and solicitor Bill Lancaster said the nature of the development is very complex.
“Commissioner Martin referred to concerns that the development should be separated from nearby sensitive developments such as the Sikh Temple and nearby residence because of the nature and amount of the fertilizer and chemical stored in the facility, particularly as it included dangerous goods,” he said
“Dangerous goods are potentially explosive and dust from fertilizer. A number of objections centered on those health and safety concerns. In reality the risk is very small.”
Council confirmed the latest legal action in August when they released a statement confirming Terra Ag had lodged an appeal.
Further reporting seeking comment from all parties will be made once the final judgement is available.