Residents from McCullys Gap and Muscle Creek wanted answers, as well as more information, about plans to build a large wind farm in their neighbourhood.
And, that’s what they received at a specially-convened meeting at the McCullys Gap Community Hall on Tuesday night.
More than 80 concerned locals met with Muswellbrook Shire Council representatives after the Chronicle revealed that one of Australia’s most successful developers, Epuron, was assessing a feasibility study in the region.
The renewable energy company is also currently involved in the projected Liverpool Range Wind Farm, which involves the construction and operation of up to 272 turbines with a combined output of 979 MW, between the townships of Coolah and Cassilis.
Epuron’s evaluation in this shire, however, caught everyone off guard, including those who live near the area, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen and council itself.
“McCullys Gap Community Hall was full to over-flowing,” council’s acting general manager Fiona Plesman said.
“But, the main outcome of the meeting was an agreement to form a McCullys Gap and Muscle Creek Community Association.
“To date, council hasn’t received anything of a formal nature in relation to a proposed wind farm in McCullys Gap/Muscle Creek.
“Epuron made contact with us last week; and mayor Martin Rush, senior staff member Gerry Bobsien and I met with them on April 13.”
Mrs Plesman said the company informed them it was only in the preliminary stages of planning.
“It would be a state significant development and, as such, be a decision for the NSW Government,” she added.
“Epuron is approaching landholders to discuss options in regard to having wind turbines or a turbine on their property; those who they’ve approached are supportive, according to the company.
“However, they have yet to complete discussions with them.
“There is one test site currently in place; two more will be installed.
“Epuron’s yet to define the transmission route, but they are looking at several options depending on existing substations.
“They aim to have an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) lodged by April 2019.
“Examples of wind farms in Silverton and Liverpool Range were mentioned as well, with reference to benefits negotiated for the community where Epuron have funded solar panels and water tanks for each resident.
“So, the local residents asked council to arrange another meeting in a few months with Epuron, as well as the Warrumbungles Shire mayor to talk about their experiences dealing with the company – and we’ll go ahead and do that.”
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