Council has - for the third time - approved a DA for the Allied Natural Wood Enterprises (ANWE) timber hub.
It follows two legal challenges, the most recent of which on October 15, prompted the company to temporarily stand down its work force associated with the timber hub.
The arguments are between ANWE and supporters of the industry who see it as a sustainable business, providing jobs directly and even more through the use of contractors and those opposed to logging who say the industry decimates native forests, affects native animal habitat and creates a worse bushfire risk.
It has left council, as the approving authority for the DA, sitting in the middle.
Council has maintained throughout the legal battle that the proposed development does not constitute a designated development and therefore does not require greater scrutiny.
Council's director community, environment and planning, Alice Howe was asked about costs to council and said the court's judgment on costs had not been made at this stage but thought it could be of the order of $20,000 depending on how costs were awarded.
The debate between councillors on the DA was heated with strong views for and against.
Cr Cathy Griff acknowledged the differing views in the chambers but asked for respect.
Cr Griff said it was a "low level use of timber" and areas that had been logged were like "someone had set a bomb off".
"We have to look beyond our shores to Spain and Germany where jobs have transitioned. Increasingly around the world this type of industry is being shut down," she said.
Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick questioned how 300 contractor jobs and 85 jobs in the mill could not be in the public interest but said the discussion wasn't about the broader issues but just about the DA.
"If we're doing a DA on Bega Cheese, we don't ask how the cow is milked, it's the same here, we're assessing the planning. We're assessing a simple DA application," Cr Fitzpatrick said.
Cr Jo Dodds said research showed the bushfire risk increased with logging. In an earlier deputation to council, Lisa Stone from South East Forest Rescue said that logged areas contained more debris, had smaller regrowth and were drier.
"Research confirms the (bushfire) risk increases with logging. We see that in the massive fires that almost took out Eden. I cannot weigh this against people losing their homes and even potentially their lives," Cr Dodds said.
Cr Robyn has a long association with the timber industry and said it was "an exciting DA by a 100 per cent Australian owned company developing here in Eden".
"There were 85 people employed but now 100 workers on site and that's without contractors. This is not jobs versus the environment, forestry is a sustainable industry and will continue to be in the future," Cr Bain said.
"This is a straight DA, they're taking a product and making it better," she said.
The vote for the DA was carried with Crs Fitzpatrick, Allen, Bain and Nadin voting for and Crs Dodds, Seckold and Griff against.
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