A proposal to turn part of a Kergunyah property into a caravan park and camping ground has been narrowly defeated by councillors. The permit application before Indigo Shire Council was to establish three campsites on the 58-hectare parcel on Kiewa Valley Highway next to the Kiewa River. Included in the plans were a waste disposal site and amenities block. Indigo Shire Council on Tuesday night, November 28, debated the pros and cons of the proposal and looked at a strong recommendation to refuse the application. Councillor Emmerick Teissl said Victoria allowed for camping along rivers and waterways but sometimes people stayed and did not move on. "This proposal would only (allow) self-contained people to stay on the property," Cr Teissl said. "When I look at the ... uses for farmland and agricultural use, I note that this would be minimal impact to the land. "And that the impact that a solar farm would have would be far more adverse than this particular proposal." Councillor Peter Croucher, supporting the project, said the proposal offered a unique tourism opportunity. "(It would) provide a beautiful suite of sites for those who enjoy the natural landscape, or the outdoors enhanced by the beautiful Kiewa River," he said. "The Kiewa river winds its way through much of Indigo Shire and is so underused by our communities who live nearby. "The proposal requires guests to bring their own potable water and any wastewater or effluent is to be discharged via portable toilet cartridges to an amenities block in an appropriate location outside the flood zone. "I believe the sites represent an excellent opportunity for further economic development with the Kergunyah area and represent an ideal outcome for tourism." Speaking against the proposal, deputy mayor Bernard Gaffney said he held concerns about possible water contamination. "You go along the Murray and there's people camping there and they camp there for long periods of time, it makes you wonder what damage that's doing to the river," he said. "The site where this caravan park would be, I think is very ideal, however the proposal is not consistent with the purpose and decision guidelines of the floodway overlay. "It poses a risk to free flow of flood waters, life and property of future occupants and the future water quality of the Kiewa River. "Having said that, I'm very sympathetic to this cause, I think it would be a great product for Indigo Shire and the community." The council was told at the November 28 meeting that North East Catchment Management Authority had not consented to the proposal. Just one public submission objecting to the application was lodged. It outlined water pollution, the potential for roaming dogs and noise concerns. "I am ... concerned about the effectiveness of the waste disposal chemicals used by caravans and how that will impact our property downstream and its connection to the proposed septic system," the submission said. "The proposed locations for one campsite in particular is very close to our boundary fence. If campers are allowed dogs this could be an issue. "There is also the problem of noise for most of the year. Noise travels very easily in the valley." The report said council officers considered this objection as part of their assessment leading to their recommendation that the permit be refused. "The proposal is not consistent with the purpose and decision guidelines of the farming zone, as it does not support ongoing agricultural use and negatively impacts on future agricultural use," the report said. A vote on the motion to refuse the permit was tied, with councillors Price, Gaffney and Sue Gold voting for the refusal. Those against were councillors Peter Croucher, Roberta Horne and Emmerick Teissl. In the absence of Cr Diane Shepheard, Cr Price used her casting vote as mayor to tip the scales of the vote.