Howlong ready to take on Cleanaway's compost facility in NSW Land and Environment Court

INTERESTED ONLOOKERS: Newly elected Federation councillor Shaun Whitechurch, left, and Norm Wales, right, attended the public meeting in Howlong.

INTERESTED ONLOOKERS: Newly elected Federation councillor Shaun Whitechurch, left, and Norm Wales, right, attended the public meeting in Howlong.

HOWLONG residents are digging in for the fight against a compost facility being built on the edge of town by agreeing to enter into the formative stages of an appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Another strong turnout of an estimated 200-plus people, unanimously agreed to raising at least $25,000 to reach the conciliation process in court with proponent, Cleanaway.

The Howlong Community Committee staged the latest public meeting on Monday night and vowed to lobby incoming Federation councillors to re-visit the council’s public support for the $8.5 million plant which was recently approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel subject to 130 conditions.

The three confirmed councillors following Saturday’s election, Shaun Whitechurch, Pat Bourke and David Longley, were present at the public meeting along with Norm Wales, who is considered a certainty to join them.

HCC chairman Stuart Sizer informed the meeting he also had a meeting arranged with senior staff from the NSW planning minister’s office and publicly thanked shadow planning and local government minister Peter Primrose in helping arrange the meeting at short-notice.

Mr Sizer said after the meeting member for Albury Greg Aplin had also played a role in organising the meeting where part of the discussion will centre around finding another site within the Federation Council area.

Mr Sizer said the HCC had been constantly frustrated in attempts to find out what had been agreed to in a heads of agreement between council and Cleanaway.

But any council intervention would be contingent on the final make-up of the nine-member council.

PACKED HOUSE: More than 200 Howlong residents attended the compost plant public meeting on Monday night. The town remains united in the fight.

PACKED HOUSE: More than 200 Howlong residents attended the compost plant public meeting on Monday night. The town remains united in the fight.

“We cannot be sure what that outcome will be because we may not get enough representation to stop it. We keep getting told (the heads of agreement) is confidential, but water-tight,” he said.

“I suspect Cleanaway won’t be very happy to continue with a path if they now have an elected council not in favour.

“It is important the new council questions the process that went through.”

Mr Longley is from Howlong, but the ticket led by HCC committee member and local resident Mark Shields is facing an uphill battle to win a spot.

Mr Sizer also revealed the HCC had been in contact with the legal team which helped stop the compost facility being built at Gerogery.

“If we are going to enter this process we’ve got to do it properly," he said.

Another option in the formative stages is bringing all parties together including Cleanaway, Albury Council, politicians and the HCC in finding a compromise.

“We want a location away from town and some money from government to assist with an (environmental impact statement) so this can go forward,” Mr Sizer said.