Bug farm gets hot reception

PLANS for a seafood farm at Chinderah to grow Moreton Bay Bugs, also known as bay lobsters, came under fierce attack at a special Tweed Shire Council meeting late yesterday.

Councillors called back from holidays to discuss the issue heard from farmers, other neighbouring landholders as well as residents of Chinderah and Oxley Cove who fear the project will smell, cause flooding problems and allow acid to leak from underground soil.

Councillors voted to call on the NSW government to extend the deadline for the public to lodge submissions on the development from Friday until the end of the month.

No councillor opposed a longer deadline, although councillors Max Boyd, Steve Dale and Gavin Lawrie failed to attend the meeting.

Cr Lynne Beck, whose family members have held discussions about using neighbouring land for a crematorium and funeral business, declared an interest and did not vote.

NSW Canegrowers Association president Graham Martin warned the project would reduce the amount of land used for sugar production and have cumulative effects on the NSW sugar growing industry.

He said a decision by the NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative to install a major co-generation electricity plant at Condong mill had been made on the basis of the sugar industry continuing, and argued the co-operative employed 384 people in the last harvest.

He warned the drift of sprays from nearby cane farms, including nitrogen fertilisers which could wreak havoc with the sensitive bay bugs, could lead to a major conflict between the different farming operations.

Landowner Henry Smith criticised Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce president Rose Wright, who has been subjected to a personalised poster protest over her support for the project, asking "since when was she a consulting engineer?"

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