Trouble brewing at Brewongle

The trouble at Brewongle, solar farm or food?


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There are some major planning decisions to be made when it comes to land currently zoned RU1 at Brewongle, near Bathurst, that a foreign company wants to build a solar farm on.

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Energy versus agriculture

A PLAN submitted by a subsidiary of a foreign-owned technology firm to develop a 400,000-panel solar farm just outside of Bathurst has been met by determined protest by locals living around it.

They say not only will it devalue expensive lifestyle properties nearby, it will also eliminate more than 200 hectares of prime agricultural land on the edge of a rapidly growing regional city.

Brewongle is a microcosm of the issues facing farming and regional communities today.

It has large, purely agricultural holdings producing wool, sheepmeat and beef and alongside them, lifestyle properties no-one considers farms.

It has high-income earners looking to escape city living and suburbia and it has fifth-generation farmers with the youngest representatives barely into their fourth decade of life.

And it has a major, potentially visually invasive, infrastructure project looming large.

The proponents of the solar “farm” tout it as part of the renewable energy solution to an ever-warming planet.

Those against it are fully aware of the potential to be tut-tutted as “not in my backyard” naysayers.

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