Mushroom farm plan turned down


The deserted Crown mushroom farm.
Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d450904
The deserted Crown mushroom farm. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d450904

WANNEROO residents are “relieved” following a decision by councillors to refuse an application to re-establish a mushroom farm.

The Belgrade Road farm was operated by Crown Mushrooms until it went into administration in August 2014.

It is now owned by ABN Group, which applied for intensive agriculture on the property in January 2015.

A City of Wanneroo report recommended approval subject to eight conditions covering compost use, operational hours and a time frame for approval to expire, but councillors instead supported an alternative motion to refuse it at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Belgrade Road resident John Hastie said it had been a “long battle” for him and other affected landowners.

“All in all it was a very pleasing result,” he said.

“It has been a really stressful time for all residents.”

Cr Dot Newton, who proposed the alternative recommendation, told the meeting she was concerned problems nearby landowners’ experienced when Crown Mushrooms previously operated would return.

“When it closed over 12 months ago, I believe several small parties were held in the area to celebrate,” she said.

“It’s almost a toxic site after so long.

“And now we have urban development creeping up.”

Cr Dianne Guise said the decision was a “no-brainer”.

“I for one enjoy the peace and quiet of not receiving phone calls complaining about this,” she said.

She also questioned the owner’s choice to recommence mushroom production when its ultimate goal was to develop the site for residential purposes.

“They have one bet each way… but is that really our job, to cover their costs?” she said.

Cr Brett Treby suggested there were other areas more suited to a mushroom farm.

“Wanneroo is open for business and is open to the agricultural community but there are better locations,” he said.

Mr Hastie said the Wanneroo Community Group, which residents formed in mid-2014, would now focus on the removal of the 500m buffer zone that surrounded the farm.

The zone prevents residential development or subdivision in the area.

“Now the mushroom farm has been rejected that buffer zone should be removed,” he said.

“Without the farm there’s no reason for it so we’ll start looking at how we can extinguish the buffer zone.”

UPDATE, September 2016: Anger over mushroom farm approval