The meeting wasn’t about the wind farm, yet was all about the wind farm.
NSW Farmers Wellington branch chairman Peter Carter made clear at the outset of Tuesday night’s meeting the merits or otherwise of the Uungula wind farm weren’t up for debate that night.
The meeting was about 12 Mile Road, off Mudgee Road between Wellington and Mudgee.
To build the proposed Uungula wind farm, project proponents CWP Renewables must transport huge blades, towers, nascelles and kilometres of cable along 12 Mile Rd.
And for that 12 Mile Rd needs some work, because in its 2016 preliminary environmental assessment CWP said access roads would be designed around tracks and roads that currently exist to avoid additional vegetation clearance for access.
CWP had three representatives at the meeting and Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders, Transport for NSW area manager land use assessment Ainsley Bruem, Transport for NSW engineer Holly Davies and Dubbo Regional Council Deputy Mayor Stephen Lawrence also attended the meeting.
Mr Carter said he had three concerns about the road, the first being that it in parts transgressed granite country where springs tended to open during wet periods.
He said the road’s construction would need to take that phenomenon into account.
CWP’s development manager Matthew Flower, seated at the lead table alongside Mr Carter, said the road would be built to purpose.
He said council and the NSW planning department would both be involved in the design process, but only if the project was approved.
The road’s detailed design could come in next year’s first half, said Mr Flower, providing the project progressed.
The EIS will be lodged with the planning department in the next couple of weeks and released publicly probably in March, and submissions invited – the public submissions become an indelible part of the planning process.
Mr Flower told the meeting some trees would need to be removed, others cropped.
Mr Carter said cutting down trees and not blocking the road seemed mission impossible.
A 12 Mile Rd landholder, Norm Smith, asked why the road wasn’t part of the EIS.
He said he could not understand why alterations to the road, drainage issues, and removing trees were not be part of the EIS.
Mr Flower said the road would be part of the EIS, but not a detailed design.
He said the costs of road construction fell solely to CWP and the company was responsible for upgrading the road and then leaving in its upgraded state at project’s end.
There will be two snapshots of the road taken, he said, one immediately after the upgrade and another once the project was completed.
CWP must leave the road in a condition that matches the original upgrade.
Mr Carter wanted the meeting to insist conditions be demanded from CWP.
“Should the meeting insist (CWP negotiate 12 Mile Rd) at night?” he asked.
The meeting heard CWP already had movement times placed on it for moving imported parts from Newcastle port. The trucks moving oversized equipment must leave Newcastle at 1am.
There was little support for Mr Carter’s suggestion, with opinions concerning safety and being able to sleep at night the main complaints.
About 50 people attended the meeting.
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