This little piggy… One more step in approval for Rivers Road piggery

A map of the proposed piggery operation on Rivers Road near Canowindra which was considered by Cowra Shire Council's general committee this week.

A map of the proposed piggery operation on Rivers Road near Canowindra which was considered by Cowra Shire Council's general committee this week.

A piggery operation in Cowra Shire, supplying suckling pigs to Sydney's Chinatown, is one step closer to approval after the operation received the green light at this week's general committee of Cowra Shire Council.

The operation, to run a maximum of 199 sows in a free range operation on a 62 hectare site, at Bangaroo Ridge on Rivers Road near Canowindra but in Cowra Shire, now only needs approval from the monthly meeting of Cowra Shire later this month.

Approval would see the owner able to run 1065 pigs on the site, including sows and piglets.

The piggery would be free range operating as a rotational outdoor piggery where pigs are kept outdoors in paddocks that are used in rotation with a crop-pasture phase.

Piggery owner David Refalo is currently running 20 sows on the property after relocating from Kemps Creek near Sydney in 2017.

He explained 95 per cent of the pigs would be sold at eight weeks as suckling pigs with the remaining grown to porker and bacon weights.

"I supply a lot of pigs to Sydney, into Chinatown, there is a massive demand for them," Mr Refalo said.

The proposed stocking density of the development of four sows per hectare is much less than DPI's recommended maximum stocking rate of 20 to 25 sows per hectare.

"I was always after more land out west and it took me quite a few years to find land in the Cowra area which I thought was perfect," Mr Refalo said of his decision to relocate from Sydney's outskirts.

The attractiveness of his Rivers Road location, he said, is its closeness to two abattoirs as well as grain and water.

Addressing neighbour concerns, Mr Refalo said he had held off submitting a development application for the operation in an attempt to alleviate these concerns.

Cowra Shire Council has received submissions in support of and against the development.

Neighbour Nicola Thurgate asking council for more time before approving the operation citing concerns about run-off, its visual appearance and air quality.

Anyone who wishes to make comment on a piggery proposed for a Rivers Road property near Canowindra has until, Monday, March 25 to do so.

That was the message from Cowra Shire Councillors who recommended at their general committee meeting to approve the project.

Council will consider the project again on March 25.

"Quite a few conditions have been added to the development application," councillor Ray Walsh pointed out at the Council's general committee meeting.

"I see no reason why not to proceed with this tonight, we as a council have no reason to object it" Cr Walsh said this week.

"It's a strange situation we are in," Cr Peter Wright said of the development "for a free range piggery in a farming area".

"It's not an intensive operation," Cr Wright added.

"The applicant has provision for irrigation to keep ground cover on the paddocks and part of his feed regime is the pasture or crops that do grow for the pigs to eat.

"Cattle and sheep producers that follow new ways of running livestock using cell grazing can have a higher intensity of animals per acre than what this applicant has with pigs, but they don't have to have a DA to allow their operation to go ahead.

"I support this, it's from an applicant using a free range area to grow grass to fatten pigs with the addition of some grain, which is what most livestock producers in that area do.

"There has to be a little bit of commonsense when you're in a rural area.

"As far as (water) contamination is concerned it is always raised and for some reason pigs and chooks seem to attract more interest than any other animal.

"We can't impose more regulations on one person just because we are frightened of a pig.

"If you listen to the animal rights people and people who want to buy good food this type of a system is what they want their pigs to be raised on," Cr Wright said.

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