By Melissa Meehan
A LINGERING stench has returned to the streets of Pakenham.
After almost two months of clean odourless air, residents say the stink is back – and they are not happy about it.
Leighann Curry said she opened her window one night last week and was forced to shut it straight away in an attempt to avoid the smell.
“Once again I feel like a prisoner in my own home,” she said.
“I can’t open a window, I can’t sit outside around the fire – it’s just horrible.”
Ms Curry said she was at the stage of selling her home and moving out of Pakenham to avoid the stink.
“It’s not a lifestyle,” she said.
“My daughter, who lives in Lakeside, has had chronic lung infections since moving to Pakenham two years ago – it’s not just affecting our day to day lives, it’s affecting our health.”
McGregor Road resident Stephanie Osborn agreed, saying the stench returned to the town on Saturday.
“It’s more noticeable at dusk and dawn, but it lingers,” she said.
“I guess it’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s not nice.”
To Ms Osborn’s surprise, the town was caught up in the smell despite still conditions last week.
“I suppose some say it is worse when the wind blows,” she said. “But last week it just seemed to hang around.”
She said Barry Jones at the Cardinia Shire Council was doing his best to address the issue, but with such a big area to cover with both rural and residential issues it was easy to understand he couldn’t get back to everyone who complained quickly.
“He has explained to me that there will be a mentions hearing at VCAT in relation to the caused of the stink on the 26 June,” she said.
“But that means we’ll have to deal with it until then.”
A council spokesperson said the shire had been contacted in relation to smell and odours in the Pakenham area and received a received a handful of complaints in the past month.
“Council has previously worked with business operators and the EPA to reduce odours emanating from local business operators and will continue to do so in the future,” she said.
“Appropriate action will be taken to address any unauthorised activity relating to odours recognised as a nuisance or which have emanated as a result of a breach of planning regulations.”
If residents feel a particular smell is stronger on some days than others, they are encouraged to contact the shire on 1300 787 624.
Residents are asked to take note of the time of day, wind direction, odour type and strength and where they believe it is originating from. This information will assist council in its investigations.
By Melissa Meehan