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Wind farm study downplays impact: Council

Mid-Western Regional Council believes Wind Prospect CWP’s Environmental Assessment of the Uungula Wind Farm can not proceed to public exhibition until an evidence based socio-economic assessment is undertaken.

Council had two weeks to prepare an adequacy review of the Environmental Assessment and have found several issues, most relating to socio-economic impacts.

The adequacy review was tabled at Council’s last meeting where it stated Wind Prospect CWP’s one-page socio-economic assessment was “entirely inadequate”.

“The EA cites the economic benefits that it purports to bring to the area but downplays any impact on the provisions of services,” Council’s review said.

Wind Prospect CWP has said 480 construction jobs will be filled by the state-wide and national workforce.

“[The workers] will temporarily migrate into the region and therefore place some temporary upward pressure on the rental housing market. However it is considered that the construction phase will result in minimal demand for other community infrastructure such as schools or health facilities,” the draft Environmental Assessment said.

Council believes this is an unsubstantiated statement.

“Experience has shown that temporary workers have the potential to increase the actual demand on health services three-fold as each worker has a different profile and therefore demand. This region has experienced the dramatic impact that temporary workers seeking accommodation can have on tourist accommodation and affordable housing,” Council’s adequacy review said.

The review goes on to say the socio-economic assessment “does not attempt to identify the likely domicile of the temporary and permanent workforce and a one page commentary included in the EA is considered a farce”.

Council believes in its current state the EA has overlooked the need to contact Council regarding road works along routes that may present impediments to oversized vehicles.

Council is also likely to address visual impact in its response to the EA as “views across Lake Burrendong are quite significant”.