Questions over Suntop solar

Questions over Suntop solar


Opinion
Suntop Environment Group member, Malcolm Rich, chats with Photon Energy traffic consultant, Sean Morgan, SECA Solutions, Newcastle, prior to the meeting.

Suntop Environment Group member, Malcolm Rich, chats with Photon Energy traffic consultant, Sean Morgan, SECA Solutions, Newcastle, prior to the meeting.

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Locals want answers from Suntop solar farm proponents

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IT’S important everyone with an opinion on the proposed Suntop solar farm second stage submit their feelings backed by facts and reasons to the Department of Planning and Environment.

Presenters at the meeting opposing the Suntop solar farm stage two project, Aaron Rich and Sam Frogley discuss the program agenda prior to formalities.

Presenters at the meeting opposing the Suntop solar farm stage two project, Aaron Rich and Sam Frogley discuss the program agenda prior to formalities.

That was the clear message concerned Suntop residents gave to the attending 80 people of a community meeting at Wellington Civic Centre last Wednesday evening.

The meeting was called by farmers within the Suntop district affected by the proposed development by Canadian Solar and Photon Energy of a second solar farm near their first project, but described as being 1.3 times the size of Wellington township.

Much of the discussion during the two-hour meeting featured around demands that no trucking in the area be permitted during school bus hours with one nearby farmer protesting the probable use of inferior roads being shortcuts from Geurie to the proposed site by worker and transport vehicles, saving approximately 40 kilometres mileage from the Dubbo side instead of using the Renshaw McGirr Way from Wellington.

Also the unsuitable width of Suntop Road itself.

“That will be accidents waiting to happen,” several residents stated.

Fire hazards and risks to Rural Rife Service volunteers who would be possibly called out to quell what one RSF volunteer described as an inevitable electrical fire, stating electricity and water do not mix.

Rainwater run-off concern was also raised.

One district resident, Malcolm Rich, whose family own two properties adjoining the solar farm stage one project, which according to Mr Rich, had slipped through the process quietly, said the stage one farm had a slope of 1 in 37 degrees.

“That’s quite concerning as the soils according to a report made by Wellington Soil Conservation in 1998 stated physical viability is generally moderate with some lighter surface soils being subject to structural degradation, which can have consequences of higher runoff, increased erosion and surface sealing,” Mr Rich said after the meeting.

Meeting co-convener, Sam Frogley, told the crowd the wider community had no consultation from Photon.

“So I’m glad we are able to get the word out there,” Mr Frogley said. “Extra traffic would include up to 40 B-Doubles on Renshaw McGirr Way and Suntop Road daily for two years and this is a big problem as the roads are not suitable for this amount of traffic.

“Each of you need to submit your concerns to the department as a priority.”

Photon Energy’s project manager, Nick Guzowski, said he welcomed the opportunity for community members to express their genuine concerns which he would take on-board.

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