Thirteen local groups and individuals have registered to make presentations concerning the Eden wind farm proposal at a consultation meeting being held today (Thursday) with the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
Chair for the JRPP’s Southern Region, Pam Allan, said the meeting was an opportunity for the panel, which will either approve or reject Epuron’s wind farm application, to hear submissions from the public to get an idea of concerns and issues surrounding the proposal.
“It’s certainly generated a lot of interest around Eden and the surrounding area and that’s not something planning decision makers should ignore,” she said.
“We should find out what the issues are – whether people support or oppose it and what they think – and issues may come up that have not come up beforehand.”
Ms Allan said the meeting is designed as an information gathering process for the panel and the Bega Valley Shire Council, which will lodge a final report and recommendation to the panel for final determination.
“It’s literally a consultation meeting or briefing where the public briefs the panel,” she said, adding that it wasn’t unusual for the JRPP to call such meetings.
“It’s certainly not unusual to have a public consultation if there is a lot of community interest in a proposal,” she said.
“We’ve had a number of public briefing sessions on issues that have got greater public interest, and they’re to take submissions we wouldn’t get in a normal meeting.
“At one of our normal determination meetings, it’s a fairly rigid process, so when something’s of a larger community interest, I think it’s important for people to get as much opportunity (to present their concerns) as they can.”
Ms Allan said she had been following the Eden wind farm issue through letters and stories appearing in the Magnet, but stressed that this meeting would not determine the outcome of the proposal.
“I’m expecting the council officers who are there to pick up on issues that may not have come forward in previous submissions, and the panel expects every issue that is brought up at this session to be addressed in the final report from council,” she said.
“The determination won’t be known until council provides the panel with that final assessment report with their recommendations.
“That’s still a cake being created so we won’t know the timing on that just yet. However, we expect that assessment to be completed by April or May and a decision won’t be later than midyear.”
The meeting, which is being held at the Eden Gardens Country Club auditorium from 11am, will also hear reports from council as to where it’s at with the proposal, and the applicant, Epuron.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding