Council newsCouncil seeks inquiry into Gullen Range “breaches”
UPPER Lachlan Council has asked for a full inquiry “preferably of judicial status” into “numerous breaches of conditions of consent” by Goldwind, developers of the Gullen Range wind farm.
Currently, Goldwind is seeking modification of the Project Approval from the State Department of Planning and Environment.
The modification relates to charges to turbine locations from those originally approved.
Goldwind’s request is on exhibition until Friday, May 2.
Council’s Director of Planning, Mrs Tina Dodson, reporting this to last meeting, invited comments from Councillors relevant to the application.
Cr. Malcolm Barlow obliged immediately.
He moved that Council ask for consideration of Goldwind’s application be put on hold pending a full inquiry, preferably judicial, into the developer’s “numerous breaches of conditions of construction consent, the wholesale re-siting of turbines without seeking consent, the major damage caused to one of the Shire’s main roads, and a general disregard during construction of negative impacts upon nearby non-host residents.”
This was seconded by Cr. John Searl.
Cr. Barlow said he had been asked to make this move by “many, many people in the area adversely affected by the development.”
“They feel, and I agree with them, that conditions are being breached.”
Cr. Barlow said the response given to one resident who challenged the developers on what he considered to be a breach, the response had been: “Prove it.”
He continued that three turbines had been re-located closer to non-host residents by more than a hundred metres.
“The developer sought no permission for changes. If someone did that to Council he would be asked to pull it down,” Cr. Barlow said.
“They have total disregard for the impact on near neighbours.”
Cr. Barlow described one incident where the developer sought a non-host’s permission to increase a blade length by three metres, from 45 to 48.
“The resident said no, but they went ahead and did it anyway.
“We have to stand up for our residents, and I would like to see Council take a stand to support these people.”
Mayor Cr. John Shaw: “Independent surveyors are looking at the issues at the moment. The Department won’t act until they make their report.”
Cr. James Wheelwright: “Do we have a file on these numerous breaches?”
Cr. Barlow: They could be verified.”
Cr. Brian McCormack declared an interest in the subject, and left the meeting room.
Cr. Barlow’s motion was carried with only Cr. Wheelwright voting against.
Gullen Range reps appointed
The two citizen representatives to join the Gullen Range Wind Farm Community Enhancement Committee have been appointed by Upper Local Council.
They are Crookwell businessman Mr. Floyd Davies and Naval officer Commander Stuart Taylor.
The committee will decide on the projects which will receive funding from the Community Enhancement Fund.
Mr. Davies lives in Crookwell, and Commander Taylor, who is a serving officer at Canberra, lives at Grabben Gullen.
They were chosen from a list of nine people who applied for the two positions.
The committee will be headed by Upper Lachlan Mayor Cr. John Shaw, or his delegate.
Also automatically on the committee are Upper Lachlan General Manager Mr. John Bell (or his delegate), a representative from the Gullen Range Wind Farm, and one Goulburn Mulwaree Council representative.
Mr. Bell said yesterday that no date had been set for the Committee’s first meeting, as the wind farm had not as yet announced its representative.
One of the first items on the new Committee’s agenda will be the recent offer by the Wind Farm developers to help fund construction of a tower at Crookwell to re-transmit television signals.
Landowners’ frustrations over building permit
Apparent misleading information has created a frustrating situation for two landholders near Crookwell who have had their building plans thwarted.
The land involved includes two lots, part of the small enclave of buildings near the intersection on the Binda and Boorowa Roads.
The blocks were purchased with the intention to eventually build homes on them – but the owners have now discovered that contrary to the information given by the real estate agent at the time of their purchase this is not permitted.
At last meeting of Upper Lachlan Council, Planning Director Mrs Tina Dodson confirmed that the Council LEP now did not allow residential building on the remaining blocks in the subdivision which Cr. Paul Culhane said was generally known as Bagtown.
Mrs. Dodson said that Council’s support was required, but also the support of the NSW Planning and Infrastructure would be needed.
And they were opposed to piecemeal/ad hoc rezonings – which was applicable to this area as six blocks similar to that of the applicants had also lost their building entitlements.
Cr. Brian McCormack commented: “It sounds like they’ve been hard done by, and we have to clean it up.”
Cr. Culhane supported this and added that it would be better to take action across the whole of the area.
Cr. McCormack: “This whole subdivision has been there a long time.”
Mayor Cr. John Shaw: “The real estate agent should be held to account.”
Council decided to adopt a recommendation from Mrs. Dodson that the Local Environmental Plan be amended to include all the lots to permit the erection of a dwelling house.
The applicants will be required to undertake the appropriate background studies and research required.
Mrs. Dodson also reported that reticulated sewerage was not available to the area, and appropriate disposal of effluent on the sites would have to be achieved.
Access was another consideration for some of the lots.
Time for fair slice for regions
MAYOR John Shaw has welcomed the new policy directions floated as part of the NSW Government cabinet re-shuffle and has congratulated the two Central NSW MPs on joining the Cabinet.
“It’s good news for Central NSW to have a former Centroc Board member Paul Toole as the new Local Government Minister and Troy Grant the Member for Dubbo as the new Minister for Racing, Gaming and the Arts,” Mayor John Shaw said. “It’s important to have a strong understanding of regional issues around the Cabinet table and I congratulate both Paul Toole and Troy Grant on their promotion.”
“Kevin Humphries has also shown he has a good understanding of rural communities in his former portfolio and I’m sure he’ll be bringing these abilities to bear in the new Land & Water department.”
Mayor John Shaw also wants to see the state’s new leadership team consider giving regional areas a better slice of government spending when it comes to long-term infrastructure.
“The election of the new Premier has also put talk of selling the state’s ‘poles and wires’ back on the agenda,” Mayor John Shaw said. “That specific issue will be up for the government to decide, but if it goes ahead it’s crucial that NSW hangs onto the value of major assets like these by putting that investment back into serious infrastructure.”
“In this region an investment in infrastructure for water security for urban communities is of critical importance.”
The newly appointed NSW Treasurer, the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of the issues that dominate the regional communities. As the previous Minister for Ageing, and Finance and Services, Mr Constance is well placed to ensure the financial viability of the state of NSW and the issues presented by an ageing population.
“I congratulate Minister Pru Goward on her new position as NSW Minister for Planning as well as continuing on her outstanding role as Minister for Women,” said Mayor John Shaw. As the Member for the electorate of Goulburn, Pru Goward understands the critical issues that regional communities face with regard to planning and infrastructure needs. Her placement in the cabinet will be a great asset in communicating these needs to attain further government funding for rural NSW.
The Member for Burrinjuck, Minister Katrina Hodgkinson now takes on the role as Assistant Minster for Tourism and Major Events in the NSW Cabinet, as well as continuing on in her role as Minister for Primary Industries. “Katrina Hodgkinson has an outstanding understanding of the rural issues that face NSW regional communities having lived and worked in Yass for many years, as well as working with those involved in Primary Industries. She will continue to be a great asset to the NSW Cabinet with regard to highlighting regional issues,” said Mayor John Shaw.
Hope yet for sewerage repair funding
“THIS might be a crack in the door” was how Upper Lachlan General Manager Mr. John Bell welcomed the news that all is not yet lost for funding for flood repairs to Crookwell sewerage scheme.
In December, 2010, a huge downpour flooded the Crookwell River and Kiamma Creek at their junction, massively damaging the sewerage pipeline attached to the bridge over the stream.
Because of its urgency, repairs were made immediately, but the State Government Department refused to contribute to the cost because the sewerage scheme is considered a business operation.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were contributed, however, to repair flood damage to roads and bridges which occurred in the same downpour.
Cost of repairing the sewer main was nearly $400,000, which Council had to bear out of its reserves.
At last Upper Lachlan meeting a letter was received from Mr. Andrew Constance, State Minister for Finance and Services.
Mr. Constance apologised for the delay in responding to Council’s application in December 2013.
He explained that the criteria for Natural Disaster Relief was set by the Commonwealth Government, which ruled that undertakings providing service on a commercial basis are not eligible.
“In spite of this I have asked NSW Public Works to request the agreement of the Commonwealth Government in categorising the trunk sewer main and its supporting suspension bridge as eligible for funding,” Mr. Constance advised.
Director of Works Mr. Phil Newham echoed Mr. Bell’s optimism: “It’s a ray of hope.”
And Mayor Cr. John Shaw added: “We’ll keep trying.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.