A proposal to shut down the six-month trial production of fish meal and oil at the Cootamundra Abattoir has been deferred by Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council.
The council wants a meeting in the next two weeks with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the operators, Manildra Meat Company, to discuss the trial's "significant negative impacts on the environment and the community".
On Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to defer the proposed closure until Manildra could provide full information, giving it until November 29 to do so.
Based on the information gathered, the council will make an "informed decision" at its December meeting, on Tuesday 10.
At the open forum before its meeting this week, the council heard submissions from two residents near the abattoir, Konrad Streher and Dean Thompson, and from the Abattoir's General Manager, Jason Graham.
Mr Streher said that in its previous operation as a ruminant abattoir an offensive smell could occasionally be noticed by nearby residents.
"Since the fish rendering, even in a reduced capacity, the smell has been detected as far away as the showgrounds and regularly in Parker Street.
"Recent TV advertising portrays Cootamundra as a picturesque rural destination welcoming for tourists, sightseers and tree changers alike. Is this image also to be coupled with the stench of processed fish and the ever-present risk of environmental damage?"
Mr Thompson backed up Mr Streher's complaints, saying he and other residents had lived within a kilometre of the abattoirs for 20 years with no problem.
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"But we noticed this appalling smell very early on before the letters we got (from Manildra)."
Mr Graham said he could understand the emotions, but Manildra had not disregarded its obligations and has been working closely with the EPA.
"We want to get the right outcome for all parties - we're part of this community so it's really important to us.
"The odour issues can take some time to adjust to a different media.
"We've seen signs of improvement in the past month and we will get on top of this."
Council papers noted that fish had been transported from the site and deposited along Temora Road and at the council's truckwash area at the saleyards.
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