Neigh­bours vow to fight so­lar plans

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - skelly@ ne­me­ BY STEVE KELLY

NEIGH­BOURS over­look­ing land ear­marked for mul­ti­ple so­lar farms span­ning 5.5km vow they will fight plans un­til the end if the need arises.

In what they’re liken­ing to the sto­ry­line out of the fa­mous Aus­tralian movie ‘The Cas­tle’, res­i­dents are out to pro­tect their “seren­ity” and their pride and joy - their homes.

Up to three so­lar farms are be­ing pro­posed for land along Glen­rowan-Win­ton Road cross­ing the bor­der­line of both the Wan­garatta and Be­nalla ru­ral cities from Glen­rowan West Road to the Win­ton power sub­sta­tion.

About six of 10 nearby land­hold­ers at this stage have con­firmed they will ob­ject to a 120 megawatt so­lar farm which is pro­posed for 245 hectares of land in the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta be­tween Glen­rowan West Road and Chivers Road.

Bev Bre­sanello has lived on 20 acres of land for 28 years, a lo­ca­tion that di­rectly ad­joins a pro­posed ESCO Pa­cific de­vel­op­ment.

She’s greatly con­cerned that her prop­erty would de­value if the so­lar farm is ap­proved due to a loss of ru­ral amenity and qual­ity of life­style.

Her neigh­bours Glen and Noel Cut­ler have 4.6 acres across the road from Bev and they are emo­tion­ally dis­traught by the plans.

Coun­cil yes­ter­day con­firmed that a de­vel­op­ment ap­proval ap­pli­ca­tion had not yet been sub­mit­ted.

ESCO Pa­cific told the Wan­garatta Chronicle they de­layed lodge­ment so they could ad­dress con­cerns from neigh­bour­ing land­hold­ers.

“We ex­pect to make the ap­pli­ca­tion by the end of next week,” ESCO Pa­cific head of de­vel­op­ment Al­li­son Hawke said.

FRV Ser­vices Aus­tralia is propos­ing an 85MW so­lar farm 3km south­west of Win­ton on a 250 hectare site, ad­join­ing the Win­ton power grid.

It’s be­lieved a third so­lar farm is planned for the im­me­di­ate south side of Chivers Road be­tween the two, set­ting up for a large scale so­lar catch­ment area.

Over­land Sun Farm­ing is the de­vel­oper with this project.

Mrs Bre­sanello has horses and some cat­tle on her prop­erty and she lists a string of rea­sons why she and her neigh­bours will fight the ESCO Pa­cific so­lar farm ap­pli­ca­tion as best they can.

“We all bought our life­style prop­er­ties, they’re our life and we don’t want to see this ru­ined by the so­lar farm,” she said.

“One of the things coun­cil won’t recog­nise is the de­val­u­a­tion and the dif­fi­culty in sell­ing our prop­er­ties, it will af­fect us all.

“It is spot on like the movie ‘The Cas­tle’ and it’s one of the first things we men­tioned when we found out.”

The res­i­dents, who say they are not against so­lar power, be­lieve that it is the wrong place to po­si­tion a so­lar farm on agri­cul­tural land.

Mr and Mrs Cut­ler moved to Glen­rowan later in life for the health and well­be­ing ben­e­fits and they be­lieve the so­lar farm would be “a ru­ina­tion of an en­vi­ron­ment”.

“We wanted to be in a ru­ral set­ting and that’s what we bought, we didn’t want pad­docks of glass look­ing at us,” Mrs Cut­ler said.

Fire haz­ard, dust, weed spray drift, noise from the in­vert­ers and the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of traf­fic sounds are all pos­si­ble is­sues the neigh­bours have flagged for re­but­tal.

We wanted to be in a ru­ral set­ting... we didn’t want pad­docks of glass look­ing at us. - Glen Cut­ler

PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

BAD VIBES: Glen­rowan life­style prop­erty own­ers Bev Bre­sanello (front, right), with son-in-law Jack Wind, and Glen and Noel Cut­ler will stand against plans to build a so­lar farm on land pic­tured be­hind them.

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