Letter to the editor: Neighbours the real losers in solar farm project

RURAL SETTING: "Big solar in the right location is good. Big solar in the wrong location isn’t necessary in a country as big as Australia."
RURAL SETTING: "Big solar in the right location is good. Big solar in the wrong location isn’t necessary in a country as big as Australia."

PHOTON Energy is proposing to build an enormous 397,576 panel, two million square metre solar power plant, surrounded by 2.4m cyclone wire fences with CCTV cameras across the road from our home.

If approved, the residents of Brewongle who live close to the plant will suffer a significant loss to the value of their homes.

Five local and very experienced real estate agents have confirmed this in writing.

Two agents have also commented that had they been consulted, they could have found other more appropriate sites, with minimal or no impact on nearby residents.

John and Irene Bestwick privately own the proposed site. The Bestwicks are extensive landowners in the area.

The site is as far away from their home as possible.

They could accommodate this plant on other parts of their property where other residents would not be impacted. But, then it would be closer to their home and would affect their property value and outlook.

Photon Energy is a foreign-owned company.

They stand to receive large government subsidies (taxpayers’ dollars) to fund this plant, that will disadvantage local residents and change Brewongle from the pristine rural village it is today into an industrial area for at least the next 25 years.

Why couldn’t the government supply crown land for such projects and collect rent from these foreign companies?

The government could then use this income to subsidise household electricity.

Big solar in the right location is good.

Big solar in the wrong location isn’t necessary in a country as big as Australia.

Brewongle is the wrong location.

Liam O’Hara, Brewongle

Drop the spin and give residents the real picture

RE: Tradies Needed To Build Project (Western Advocate, October 24). The headline on this article is misleading; local tradies are, for the most part, not needed.

Photon should stop trotting out this “spin of 100 local jobs”.

At the community consultation on September 6, the 100 jobs became 100 contractors, then it became several contractors, each with their team.

Then it became local contractors only if they have the required skills and (surprise, surprise) Photon had made no inquiry as to whether any local had the relevant skills.

Photon then said words to the effect: “Never mind, we have outside contractors we can bring in.” So locals are not needed.

By the way, if locals are to be retained, why will Bathurst accommodation, cafes and restaurants benefit?

Are our local tradies suddenly going to start staying away from home and eating out? So much spin gives a false impression.

Of course, in the construction phase, local contractors may be retained for incidental work such as the installation of the surrounding “Lithgow Prison-type” fence, but why not set out the position accurately?

As to Mr Ibrahim’s reference to “once complete, there will be employment opportunity for five to 10 people in long-term positions”.

Is he suggesting employment with Photon?

If so, how does he reconcile this with the group’s 2016 financial statement at page 63 in which he boasts “62 staff employed over 42 companies”?

These were said to be the only employees and all are office bearers (directors, etc).

Has the group now changed its policy? Which is correct, the financial statement or the spin?

We suggest no local jobs but, rather at best, a few local contractors on call.

Why not tell it straight? This is a significant proposal that seeks to override the regional council and the local community.

Surely locals are entitled to accurate statements.

Steve Locke, Brewongle