CONCERNS remain about the effect of a flood at the site of, and properties near, the proposed Gunnedah Solar Farm, which has reached its final approval hurdle.
Residents The Leader contacted said they did not believe the proponents, Photon Energy and Canadian Solar, had properly accounted for the natural event.
This was despite “the majority of public submissions” being about this issue, and the companies having done extra modelling and altering the fencing plans as a result.
However, the proponents said they were “confident our modelling meets the requirements for the community”.
“The completed modelling demonstrates that the project complies with the Gunnedah LEP [Local Environmental Plan] and the relevant Flood Management Plan’s assessment criteria for the floodplain.”
Gunnedah Solar Farm is in the hands of the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) after the Department of Planning and Environment listed it as “approvable” this week.
Landholder Phil Glover said floods “have got to be taken seriously” and building a $200 million project in a flood zone was “lunacy”.
Having lived there for about 25 years, he’d seen “lots of floods [in that area] – in ’98 there was five of them”.
The proponents “evaluated a number of alternatives[s]” in fencing layouts and types, including drop-down, according to the department’s assessment report.
But resident Jennie Kember still feared a build-up of debris directing floodwater onto properties.
“Nothing’s changed … our concerns and issues are the same as they always have been – and we’ve told them over and over,” she said.
Mrs Kember and Emma Brown’s own worries are the visual and noise effects – but, Mrs Brown said, “It’s a community”.
“If it floods I won’t be affected, but others will be: our neighbours. We’re friends with them ... so I’m concerned for them as well,” she said.
“It’s not all about us and our view and our new house; it’s just not a well-thought-out proposal to put a solar farm on a floodplain.”
Photon Energy and Canadian Solar said they were preparing to meet with the IPC in coming days to discuss the project development application.
They would not attend an IPC public feedback meeting later this month: “The purpose of this consultation is for the community to provide feedback about the project, it’s not for Photon Energy to be involved”.
“We maintain open lines of communication with the local community. The team can be contacted about the Gunnedah Solar Farm via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 881 045.”
- The meeting will be at Gunnedah Town Hall on November 29 from 9.30am
- People who want to speak must register no later than November 27
- Written submissions will be taken for up to a week after the meeting
- In both cases, people must email email@example.com or call 9383 2100.