So­lar farm plan heats up

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Leah Roberts

CITY of Fre­man­tle coun­cil­lors have ap­proved the busi­ness plan for an ur­ban so­lar farm at a for­mer South Fre­man­tle land­fill site.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­ment Reg­u­la­tion, the for­mer land­fill site along Cock­burn Road is clas­si­fied a con­tam­i­nated site be­cause sand caps that cover the waste may in­clude as­bestos-con­tain­ing ma­te­rial.

The lease would be for 25 years, with rent re­views every three years to al­low the City to in­sti­gate com­mer­cial rent if prof­itabil­ity in­creases.

The lease would not be ex­e­cuted un­til all ap­provals are granted by the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion for both the devel­op­ment and lease to Eupron.

Sep­a­rate coun­cil pro­cesses and more com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion would be held about en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns and con­di­tions of devel­op­ment ap­proval are be­ing dealt with through prepa­ra­tion of site and con­struc­tion man­age­ment plans,” the re­port said.

Deputy Mayor In­grid Waltham said she was glad it was at this stage.

“I am glad if we can give the land some use,” she said. “The site cur­rently gen­er­ates no in­come for the City and the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­straints mean any per­ma­nent devel­op­ment is not fea­si­ble for many years.

“The idea of de­vel­op­ing a so­lar farm was en­dorsed by the coun­cil in 2013 on the ba­sis that the so­lar panel struc­tures could be po­si­tioned above the sur­face of the soil and re­quire lit­tle or no ex­ca­va­tion or dis­tur­bance of what is a con­tam­i­nated site.

“How­ever, the coun­cil has been very clear that we will not let this devel­op­ment pro­ceed un­less we are sat­is­fied it is safe to do so.

“The com­mu­nity’s safety is our ab­so­lute pri­or­ity.”

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