City hatching plans for Inghams exit strategy

THE City of Wanneroo is organising a meeting with State Government ministers about how a possible exit strategy for Inghams Enterprises might be structured, assets director Harminder Singh said.

Councillors recently voted in support of a motion for Mayor Tracey Roberts and chief executive Daniel Simms to meet the Environment and Agriculture ministers to discuss options for the Sinagra site.

The motion said it was “timely” for the City to take a more strategic approach to relocating the Wanneroo Road facility, which was causing local amenity and traffic concerns, and releasing the land for development.

“The intent of (the motion) is to obviously look at relocation, look at employment of current employees but certainly we need to be looking at investigating opportunities for a joint exit strategy,” Mrs Roberts said.

Deputy mayor Dot Newton, who seconded the motion, said an exit strategy for the Sinagra facilities was “the way to go” and there was a nearby, more suitable shire that would welcome Inghams and had told them so.

“The problem for us is if the feedmill licence wasn’t renewed, that doesn’t take Inghams out of the equation; they still have a hatchery and are able to raise their chickens there,” she said.

Cr Dianne Guise said she hoped discussions with the Government were “fruitful” and that Inghams could be encouraged to move.

“While it is a worthy business, one has to question and indeed have questioned now for some years whether it’s still appropriate to be where it is,” she said.

She said it was a critical piece of land for the Wanneroo town centre and the facility created problems for residents near the buffer zone.

“I would have thought that by now it would be attractive for Inghams to look at what their land might be worth and for the Government to come to the party in terms of that exit strategy and helping assist finding them another place to be,” she said.

An Environment Regulation Department decision to extend Inghams’ current feedmill licence for a year, rather than determine a licence renewal application, was advertised on October 5.

Cr Frank Cvitan said he received many calls from residents about “getting rid of the smell”.

Cr Sabine Winton said relocation did not necessarily mean out of the City and suggested the discussions include local opportunities.

Cr Brett Treby said it was a chance for Inghams to move to another Wanneroo location together with “like-minded and supplementary agribusinesses”.

“I see this as an opportunity for us… it’s not this ‘let’s get rid of Inghams’ – let’s embrace it, let’s move them somewhere where we can build that economy and strengthen it,” he said.