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Wind farm submission warns of ‘extreme safety dangers’ on roads  

Credit:  By ROBYN MURRAY | March 4, 2013 | Mudgee Guardian | www.mudgeeguardian.com.au ~~

Mid-Western Regional Council is expected to formally object to the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm development on the grounds that the current road network is incapable of carrying traffic expected during construction of the towers.

A draft submission to the State Government, to be considered for adoption by council on Wednesday, has reiterated council’s concerns over the effects of heavy vehicles on Hill End Road, Windeyer Road and Pyramul Road as well as the “extreme safety dangers” to other road users.

Council’s draft submission includes analysis of upgrades required to cope with 84 truck movements a day to carry pre-mix concrete for the towers, in addition to the vehicles of up to 100 construction workers travelling to the site daily.

Council estimates the cost of upgrading the roads at $26.168 million.

“The road with the increased volume from the construction traffic will become a significant safety issue if not upgraded,” general manager Warwick Bennett said in the draft submission.

“The proponent will argue that the high value of traffic is only for a short period of time, somewhere around 18 months to two years.

“In council’s opinion that is irrelevant as the traffic, oversized, overweight and including a greater number, will travel this road causing extreme safety dangers to other users.

“It is unacceptable if this road is not upgraded to Austroads Standards as required by all other developers.

“The proponents will require rolling stoppages whilst transporting the components. On many parts there will be no areas for local traffic to get off the road to allow these vehicles to pass.”

In addition, council has argued that Bombandi Road is “not more than a farm track” and will require substantial upgrades.

“Crudine Road is generally wide enough, but the traffic lanes will require to be upgrades and the drainage installed.”

The draft submission also raised concerns that components would be carried through Gulgong township.

Council is seeking $500,000 from the project developers to upgrade the road to acceptable safety standards for a distance of two kilometres of the Gulgong Township.

The draft submission also calls on the State Government to include a finalisation of voluntary planning agreement (VPA) as a condition of consent for the project.

Mr Bennett said it was important that the VPA be a condition of consent because if the business was sold, the VPA would go with the consent on the land and council would not have to chase the new owner to adhere to the VPA payments.

Council is seeking a community levy of $6.4 million over 25 years from the developer and a road maintenance fee of $12,000 per kilometre a year from the Mudgee township to the windfarm site, a distance of 53 kilometres.

Council is also calling on the State government to require the developer to lodge a bond of $70,000 per tower to prevent the wind farm from becoming “an environmental visual eyesore” if it ceases operation.

“Crudine Ridge Wind Farm Pty Ltd is a $10 company with two shareholders, being WP Renewals Ltd and CWP Australia Holding Pty Ltd. Both parent companies are based in Malta and have 500 shares each with a total value of $5 – one cent per share,” Mr Bennett said.

Mr Bennett said that if the company ceased operating, removal of the towers should not be at the expense of taxpayers.

The draft submission also raised issues of property devaluation, social impact, water and fire fighting capability.

Source:  By ROBYN MURRAY | March 4, 2013 | Mudgee Guardian | www.mudgeeguardian.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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