The Development application site in Boambee.
The Development application site in Boambee. Contributed

Concerns for blueberry farm in residential area

A DEVELOPMENT application for a blueberry farm in Boambee has residents in an uproar and concerns have been raised over the effects pesticides and chemicals used will have on nearby homes, schools and waterways.

A petition has been started by residents against the DA and for a chance to have their say. More than 950 people have so far signed.

"A proposed blueberry farm is set to be built in the rural residential area of Boambee, between the Pacific Highway and Lindsays Rd," the petition states.

In the petition, it says the main concerns about the proposal are the high level of toxic chemicals used to spray blueberry crops in proximity to Boambee Public School, and how it will affect the water in Boambee Creek, which borders the proposed property.

"I am not against blueberries in our area but I am against the toxic sprays they use. Until a safer solution is found, I do not believe the industry should expand. There is already evidence that our creeks and rivers are being polluted," commented a supporter of the petition.

"I'm concerned of the ill effects from the pesticides that they are using. We have tank water for our drinking, washing and bathing. Our bedrooms are just 14m away from the blueberry farm. Farming is a part of life but the chemicals used on these farms have detrimental effects to the environment. A lot of water flows down the valley into the Boambee Creek during summer and empties out at Boambee Bay. Where do you think these chemicals are going to end up?" wrote another petition supporter.

Greens councillor Dr Sally Townley said it was the first time in the Coffs Harbour local government area there had been a development application for a blueberry farm.

"I personally don't think it's an appropriate land use for a residential area," Cr Townley said.

"Farmers are meant to inform neighbours and do everything they can to ensure spray isn't going to go on neighbouring properties.

"I think from what we've seen in the industry so far, very little evidence has come of farmers talking to neighbours about what they're doing and spraying.

"Most of the people are on tank water. There's no barrier between where the blueberries are being planted and houses."

The DA for horticulture was lodged in April, with the estimated cost of work being $25,000.

For more information, visit the DA tracker on Coffs Harbour City Council's website or visit goo.gl/vqva5u for the petition.



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