A ruling on Cooranbong compost stink

THE LAND and Environment Court has ruled against granting Australian Native Landscapes a further stay on conditions on its Cooranbong composting centre, which order it to limit odours, wastewater and the use of trucks.

Ruling in favour of Lake Macquarie City Council, the court denied ANL’s request to stay the conditions until after an appeal hearing, or “pending further orders”.

Justice Terry Sheehan said such an appeal might not have an outcome until June 2017, meaning the court-ordered conditions on the Cooranbong centre would have been effectively stayed for two years.

In July 2015, Lake Macquarie City Council won a ruling preventing ANL from emitting “offensive” odours and using trucks on its site outside of approved hours.

“The court must uphold the integrity of the planning law, and I am completely unsatisfied that the indulgences granted to ANL... have been respected,” Justice Sheehan said in the latest judgement.

“The stage has now been reached where private advantage is being won at the expense of the public interest.”

Comment has been sought from Lake Macquarie council, and from ANL.

Responding to criticism in May, ANL’s managing director Patrick Soars told the Newcastle Herald “politics” were a factor in criticism of the site.

“This is purely a case of two residents who won’t be satisfied until we’re gone from the site,” Mr Soars said.

Lake Macquarie state MP Greg Piper, who has met previously with Mr Soars and criticised ANL in Parliament for, he said, breaching licensing conditions and court orders, said it was now time for the company to listen to its neighbours. “It can’t be left as business as usual,” he said. 

Lake Macquarie Council obtained orders from the Land and Environment Court in 2015.

“Council has been successful in obtaining an order from the Court refusing a further extension of time,” a spokeswoman said.  

“Council is very pleased with the result of the latest court proceedings and the strong message it sends to ANL about operating within the law.”