Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
A group of Southgate residents is opposing a proposal to develop a solar plant in an area they say is “visible to residents all around”.
Tasmanian-based company, Infinergy Pacific, wrote to residents who live near the proposal on August 5, advising that it is “currently investigating the feasibility of developing a solar farm on neighbouring land at 58 Boorman’s Lane, Lower Southgate”.
“As part of our investigations to determine the suitability of the proposal site for a solar farm, we would like to discuss our preliminary ideas with neighbouring residents, outlining why we think the location is suitable for solar development and hear your views, so that these can be considered as part of our assessment,” Infinergy Pacific wrote.
Spokesperson for the residents, Steve Grimes, said, “We’re not anti-solar, we’re against the location they are currently proposing.”
He said 20 residents from the group (restricted by Covid regulations) met on Saturday September 25, to discuss “updates and correspondence regarding the large-scale solar plant proposal”.
Mr Grimes said that “the neighbourhood is more determined than ever to challenge the logic of placing such an industrial operation on prime agricultural land bounded by rural residential neighbours”.
Meanwhile, Infinergy Pacific advised residents on Friday September 25 that it “would like to reconfirm that we have a range of ways that the local community can consult with our team, regarding the proposed solar development” – email, letter, telephone and Zoom calls – which “will remain available as we progress (if feasible) the proposal through the development process”.
“We understand that you would like to meet our team in person, and we can assure you that we will organise such consultation as soon as it is feasibly possible and in line with Covid 19 safety considerations.
“As requested, we will let you know via this email when we have a confirmed date or dates.”
Infinergy Pacific development officer, Jane Ross, declined to comment further than what she had written to residents.
“We’re following consultation guidance from the [NSW] planning department,” she said.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 29 September 2021.