Tensions rise as Yarwun solar site neighbours ramp up action
LANDOWNERS near the proposed Yarwun solar farm are standing up for their rural way of life.
The Yarwun Solar Action Group was formed last week after neighbouring property owners learned about Renew Estate's plans to build a 32MW solar farm at Spring Valley Road.
The group is rallying to the company, and local and state governments, to stop the construction of the solar farm, which will change the rural landscape.
Some group members were bought out of Targinnie 20 years ago, to make room for future industrial development.
It is areas including Targinnie and Aldoga that group chair Graham Bambrick wants the company to consider, instead of robbing him and his neighbours of their view.
Mr Bambrick, who lives across the road from the proposed site, said they were worried how it was going to hurt the community.
"We're worried mainly how it's going to hurt the community ... I don't believe anyone would like to live next door to the solar farm, or buy in the bush and look at glass panels," he said.
"It won't bring anyone to the community at all."
Renew Estate revealed its plans for the 32MW Yarwun and 300MW Rodds Bay solar farms last month.
The company lodged a development application for Rodds Bay, near Bororen, but has not yet made progress on the Yarwun project.
Director of engagement and culture Rosie King said Renew Estate was passionate about ensuring the community understood the impacts and benefits.
She said the Yarwun site was chosen due to its proximity to other heavy industries.
"The site had planning approval to become a mining camp ... A solar farm would have less impact," she said.
"In terms of the continued use of the land once the solar farm is operational, it is intended that it will be used for grazing."
She said once the solar farm was operational, the land would be used for grazing and that the company would have "frequent and honest discussions" with members of the Yarwun Solar Action Group during a community engagement program.
"This includes more face to face meetings with the neighbours and any other members of the community who will be impacted by the solar farm," she said.
"We are also engaging in a number of expert consultants ... with a view to working to reduce any potential impacts as perceived by the neighbouring landowners."
The company has promised Yarwun residents cheaper electricity, faster internet and upgrades to roads.
During the 12 months of construction it would create about 100-200 jobs, and would need about five people once operational.
But Mr Bambrick said the community's internet worked well, and they were not impressed by road upgrades.
While he stressed the group was not anti-development he said there were many areas within the region more suitable.
"Most of us moved to Yarwun because we like the lifestyle, we want to live in the bush, we don't want that on our doorstep," he said.
The community group will host a meeting tonight at 6pm at the Yarwun Community Hall.