Smells, sounds, sewage and salmonella summarises the top concerns of residents living close to the proposed Longwarry saleyard site.
The $13 million Longwarry development would have a throughput of up to 132,000 cattle a year and planning permission from Baw Baw Shire Council is likely to be decided in September.
Among the nearby residents is Pam Hall, whose 2.5-hectare property is one of 11 small holdings less than 500 metres from the "activity zone" of the proposed Longwarry saleyard.
An unofficial spokesperson for the 'No Saleyard for Longwarry' group, Ms Hall said they were not anti-farming but the site was "just the wrong place".
"We cannot understand how it could be possible to build a saleyard that close to so many homes," she said.
"If there was one house and it was maybe 400 metres away, I'd say, 'They could probably do A, B and C and that would reduce the likelihood of any issues,' but there's 11 homes and so many of them are less than half the recommended distance - it's just ridiculous."
Ms Hall said her house was 200 metres from the saleyard's activity zone but was concerned for the McCoy family, whose home on the site's south-western boundary would be enclosed on two sides by the development.
The group has clear concerns that centre around drainage, noise, smell, dust and disease, and have demands to rectify their objections.
Sheets of water routinely flow across the Longwarry flats, so drainage is key.
The development proposes to harvest water from the 18,000-square-metre saleyard roof for truck wash, dust suppression and wash-down.
Storm water from the hard stand areas will be diverted into a water treatment wetland before being discharged through the road culverts.
Effluent will be connected to the Longwarry sewerage system via a new pipeline, however Ms Hall was concerned with the sewerage system to handle the extra flow capacity.
"Last week when we had rain, there were people in town... in the new estate and older estates, that had water coming up through the showers, sinks and toilets," she said.
Noise and walls
Noise walls cloaked by trees would flank parts of the new site to minimise the impact but it is anticipated three of the nearby homes could experience more than the recommended rural maximum noise level during the evening, according to Ms Hall.
Ms Hall wants the houses to be fitted with double glazing at the saleyard's expense, no sales on weekends or public holidays, and a daily 9pm to 8am curfew, with sales starting no earlier than 9am.
A major demand by the group wants the saleyard developers to create a separate access from the freeway, rather than using the Sand Road flyover.
They would also like to see the trucks remain on the northern side of the buildings to minimise the impact on the McCoy's house.
Longwarry Saleyards Pty Ltd commissioned a study into the likely odours based on readings from saleyards at Mortlake.
It found that a house to the north would likely be affected by odour one day per year, while a house to the west would be affected for five.
But Ms Hall said differences between Mortlake and Longwarry made the comparison unfair and the impact of trucks had also been overlooked, she said.
"They haven't considered the odour of the trucks that are going past our houses every day," Ms Hall said.
Dust and disease
The soft flooring would be periodically replaced in the saleyards and stored in heaps until it could be removed by contractors.
The planning proposal says the saleyard will strategically water dust-generating areas.
Ms Hall said she was concerned that dust would reach nearby houses, potentially bringing disease like Salmonella, E. coli, Leptospirosis and Q Fever.
"We use rainwater for drinking water and all our domestic water," she said.
"The dust from the site will blow onto our roofs and we will end up with contaminated drinking water.
"They say that the risk of infection is low but the consequences of that infection if it does happen, are catastrophic."
The 'No Saleyard for Longwarry' group wanted that addressed with water filtration systems for affected homes supplied by the saleyards. It would also like the saleyards completely enclosed.
Longwarry Saleyards director Greg Price said he had heard from the No Saleyard for Longwarry at the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)'s most recent consultation session.
"It was interesting that the Longwarry group did actually make some suggestions going forward about how they could live the with the project," Mr Price said.
"We, as an organisation, are talking to our consultants to see which of their suggestions we can take on board."
Ms Hall said many local residents felt trapped.
"We couldn't sell our property now if we wanted to... because our property values have gone down," she said.
Mike Sloan, who lives across from the site, said he was mentally prepared for the long haul, given the likely length of the approvals, financing and construction process.
"This is going to be drawn out, it's not going to happen in the next six months, it's going to be part of our lives for the next couple of years," he said.
"I have no doubt this is going to affect us adversely.
"I think that's the bottom line, most people wouldn't have a saleyard built across the road from their family home."
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