Manjinder Singh Bajwa at his blueberry farm on Bruxner Park Road. Photo by Trevor Veale
Manjinder Singh Bajwa at his blueberry farm on Bruxner Park Road. Photo by Trevor Veale

Green light for berry poles and nets in residential zone

Korora Blueberry farmer Manjinder Singh Bajwa has been given the green light to construct netting over his crops.

The second generation farmer submitted a development application to Coffs Harbour City Council for the construction of poles and nets on his Bruxner Park Road farm.

The land on which the farm is situated is zoned R5 Large Lot Residential and as such structures in the zone need council approval.

It's the first time such an approval has been granted in this zone and opponents fear this sets a dangerous precedent.

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The application was advertised and with a total of 31 public submissions, it went to Councillors for consideration at their recent meeting.

A number of concerns related to the visual impacts from the netting but this was deemed to be minimal due to the undulating nature of the site with a report saying it would be unlikely to lead to any direct, consistent and unrestricted views of the netting.

Manjinder's choice of black netting also helped to alleviate these concerns.

Councillor Sally Townley was the only Coffs Harbour City Councillor who voted against the DA being approved.
Councillor Sally Townley was the only Coffs Harbour City Councillor who voted against the DA being approved.

Other issues raised in the public submissions related to fears of spray drift and water contamination; decreased property values; and the potential impact on birdlife.

Paul Shoker from the NSW Farmers Association addressed Councillors in favour of the application while Korora resident Mariette Eden tabled a petition from nearby residents against the plan.

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She is concerned for the environment and her physical health and that of her neighbours, and says students at Korora Public School could also be impacted by spray drift.

"You can't get away from the chemicals. It really scares me and has made me realise health only comes once and we've got to start protecting this fiercely."

When it was put to the vote Cr Sally Townley was the only one who voted against it with Crs Michael Adendorff, Paul Amos, George Cecato, Keith Rhoades, Tegan Swan and Denise Knight all voting to approve the construction.