Maps show homes surrounded by solar panels
MORE details have emerged of a controversial proposal for a $16m solar farm at Nana Glen.
The proposal has divided the small community with two separate land owners on either side of Ferretts Rd making their properties available for the 50,000 solar panels leaving a number of other properties virtually surrounded.
Residents against the proposal say it will be a glary eyesore and dramatically reduce property values.
Chris Clarke is the coordinator of the Nana Glen Solar Farm Opposition group and says he is not against solar power but is highly critical of using agricultural land for such a venture.
"I'm not against solar - I've said it over and over again - I live off the grid and plan to put more in but the paddocks in line for the solar farm are currently running cattle.
"There are thirty head of cattle in one and twenty in the other - I would call that agricultural land - so it shouldn't be cleared to make way for a solar farm.
"Rural land is becoming more limited with people walking off their properties out west so coastal regions will be called on to grow more of the produce we rely on, otherwise we will need to start importing more food."
Proponents RioIndygen have outlined the socio-economic benefits of the project including the creation of 30 direct jobs over the six-month construction period and three to four direct full-time equivalent jobs during operation.
They have also highlighted the flow on benefits from the two participating landholders (McDonald and Crossley) to the wider community.
"I am somewhat angered by a portion of the DA which openly states Rio Indygen is being very supportive, financially, to the two landholders whom have, or are about to, enter into a contract with them," Mr Clarke said.
"The DA speaks of the disposable income gained as a result of their lease agreement being spent in the local area thereby benefiting our community. One of the families is no longer living in NSW and has rented his home and agisted his lands whilst he is working in Queensland."
RioIndygen has also highlighted the obvious need for greater reliance on renewable energy.
Once the farm is up and running the venture will operate for up to 25 years, after which all above ground components would be removed and the land restored to its former agricultural potential.
In addition to the 50,000 panels, twelve containerised power conversion stations would be distributed across the site. Each station would be approximately six metres long and 2.26 metres high.
A site compound would be established in the form of a prefabricated portable building/shed and modified shipping container(s). The perimeter fence will be almost two metres high with a gap of 200 mm at the base to allow for wildlife to pass through. The fence will be alarmed and monitored 24 hours a day.
The location has been chosen for its proximity to the existing HV substation that fronts Ferretts Road which the farm will connect to via underground cabling.
Due to the value and scale of the proposal it will not be determined by Coffs Harbour City Council but instead will go the Northern Regional Planning Panel. Mayor Denise Knight and fellow councillor George Cecato will sit on the panel along with three other independent members from across NSW.
The five-member panel will read all the relevant documents and conduct a site visit and hear from local residents and then make a decision.
Although council won't be determining the outcome they are facilitating the public consultation period with submissions open now until August 14. To view the documents search for application number 0418/19DA on council's DA tracker.