SEEKING to correct a report on the Nundle wind farm proposal is locals’ next step, after a planning department meeting they said nonetheless gave them more confidence in the process.
Although feedback on the Preliminary Environmental Assessment is not an enshrined part of the process, it’s important the public document is accurate, Hills of Gold Preservation Inc’s (HOGPI) Megan Trousdale said.
The errors include – in a section stating the location’s advantages – the population of Tamworth being overstated at more than 300 per cent of the official figure of about 70,000 in the local government area.
“Tamworth has been identified as a potential source of skills for construction and operation [with] strong population of 200,000,” it states.
Despite this, Mrs Trousdale, who opposes the Hills of Gold Energy Project, said she was pleased with how the process was unfolding.
“I have more faith and confidence that the department will asses this project on its merits and take into account local concerns and impacts,” she said.
The Department of Planning and Environment held the meeting to discuss, and answer questions on, the planning process in the Wind Energy Partners proposal.
Wind Energy Partners spokesman Jamie Chivers said the company had also done “significantly more community consultation than other infrastructure projects at this early concept stage which gives us a good idea of the communities areas of interest”.
“We will continue to work with the community as more detailed assessments are undertaken,” he said.
Mr Chivers said he would talk with the Preliminary Environmental Assessment authors to “clarify if there have been errors made.”
Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm owner Russell Sydenham said it had been a “very nicely run” meeting with “a fair bit of mutual respect shown on both sides”.
He was in the “pro” camp; but while he stood to benefit from the wind farm, his property could also be one of the most affected, with “quite a few turbines to be located quite close to our residence”.
“I’m confident that the process is extremely robust and that … there are sufficient protections built in for us, as well as the rest of the community,” he said.
The company lodged its preliminary report this week.
Among others, Mrs Trousdale questioned its claim of “strong community support” from Hanging Rock.
“We have a petition that has been going since April, and we have 45 signatures from Hanging Rock – I think its population is about 105.”
Mr Chivers said the Hills of Gold Wind Farm, with a project value of $600 million, would “contribute to jobs and prosperity in the Tamworth region along with providing clean energy for over 190,000 households”.
“We look forward to working with the community and hope to progress this project to unlock greater investment and jobs for those looking to enter the growing renewable energy industry in regional NSW.”