Call to halt works at Eunony Valley solar project

Wagga Solar Farm: Eunony Valley call to halt works at Metka EGN project

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PROTEST: Eunony Valley Association's Wendy Anderson, Cathie O'Kane, Katie Howard, Sue White and Jan Pollard oppose the new solar farm on Windmill Road, to be located in the background on the left. Picture: Rex Martinich

PROTEST: Eunony Valley Association's Wendy Anderson, Cathie O'Kane, Katie Howard, Sue White and Jan Pollard oppose the new solar farm on Windmill Road, to be located in the background on the left. Picture: Rex Martinich

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Landowners' group not confident in planning panel upholding solar farm complaints.

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The Eunony Valley Association has called for a halt on construction of a new solar farm at Bomen, near Wagga Wagga, and a delay to a planning panel hearing on its $26.8 million expansion.

The association's members have claimed that existing solar farms in the area have caused sun glare, loss of agricultural land, water runoff and harm to native animals.

Workers are currently building the $32.1 million first stage of the 'Wagga Solar Farm' on Windmill Road at Bomen, which aims to generate 30 megawatts from 116,550 panels.

UK-based company Metka EGN has sought to expand the site with another 49,364 panels to add 18.7 megawatts.

The Southern Regional Planning Panel is due to hold a hearing on the expansion plans on Thursday next week.

Association president Bill Schulz said the group was asking that the "panel be deferred until there is a thorough review of the issues that have been experienced already".

"For the next 30 years, we are the only people who will have to look at this, not the decision makers," he said.

"The Eunony Valley Association says today: enough is enough."

Association committee member Cathie O'Kane said he had been "directly affected by glare" from another nearby solar project.

"It will take 20 years for the screening vegetation to have any effect," she said.

She also said the area's Superb Parrot species would have to "live on the ground with the foxes" due to the loss of trees.

"It's the failure of Metka to engage with us," she said.

A statement from the association said they were concerned that the panel lacked authority, as it had blocked the first stage application but was overturned in court.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the "the Eunony Valley Association is invited to register to speak or listen to the meeting" via teleconference details that have been published online and in public advertisements.

Metka EGN was contacted for comment as well as the project's developer, Sydney-based Terrain Solar, but did not receive responses prior to publication.

Wagga City Council's report on the development application stated that it was "recommended for approval, subject to conditions".

"...whilst there is harm the impact of the vegetation removal on either flora or fauna present on the site is not significant," the report stated.

The report also stated that "visually this development will have an impact on the existing character of the land" but was balanced by the need to meet renewable energy targets.

The story Call to halt works at Eunony Valley solar project first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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