Council to decide on $20m Midfield Meat expansion

The Midfield Group's planned dairy plant would be built adjacent to the abattoir on Scott Street land which was previously Crown land and part of the council’s outdoor depot.

The Midfield Group's planned dairy plant would be built adjacent to the abattoir on Scott Street land which was previously Crown land and part of the council’s outdoor depot.

TWO of the largest buildings in Warrnambool since the base hospital redevelopment have been proposed in planning permit applications for multi-million-dollar Midfield Meat expansions.

The applications for a milk powder processing plant and a meat cold store will be considered by city councillors tonight.

It is the first time specific details of the projects have been aired since March when Midfield boss Colin McKenna Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine announced plans for $20m additions to the company’s operations in Merrivale.

Mr McKenna said at the time the company aimed to produce more than meat and the diversification into dairy processing would “change the face of farming in the local area”.

He indicated the company would source its own milk and not encroach on the supply network of current processors.

The planned dairy plant would be built adjacent to the abattoir on Scott Street land which was previously Crown land and part of the council’s outdoor depot.

It was purchased by the company for $1.7 million in a title transfer from the state government through the council which reaped a $290,000 profit for the council to upgrade the remainder of its depot site.

A summary of the projects tabled for tonight’s meeting shows the milk facility would be in a concrete building 34 metres tall ­— equivalent to 10 storeys and measure about 3000 square metres.

It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week with six staff on shift. The plant will comprise a dryer, boiler house, laboratory, storage areas and loading areas. 

Across the road  on a site between Scott and Strong streets, a 29-metre high freezer and cold storage facility would be constructed.

It will be 980 square metres and operate 24/7 with a maximum nine staff on shift  and the cool store  will run in conjunction with Midfield’s retail store on Scott Street.

Both projects have been listed tonight for combined planning scheme amendment and planning permit applications.

The council wrote to Planning Minister Matthew Guy last month asking him to step in and decide on the applications because of complexities in the council being the land sale vendor  and also local planning authority.

However, Mr Guy replied he was confident the council’s planning process could handle the issue.

Last month, the council refused an application from the meat processing and export company for a substantial upgrade of its rendering and waste processing facilities at Levys Point.

The application was refused on environmental grounds and is  likely to affect the company’s hopes to capture and use methane from the rendering plant.

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