Project Update (August 2020)

By August 20, 2020 Solar Farm News

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) are completing their review of the project to determine whether in their opinion a Development Consent should be granted. In the interest of our commitment to the project, whilst we await their decision, we have continued to make some small amounts of progress where possible.

JSF and Greater Hume Shire Council (GHSC) have continued progressing towards the finalisation of the Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA). Subject to final Council approval, and Development Consent of the proposed project, the VPA will deliver $1.7 million dollars to GHSC and the local community over the life of the project (adjusted with CPI). The proposed VPA will include $25,000 (adjusted with CPI) per year for 30 years towards a Community Contribution Fund, which will prioritise the funding of groups, clubs, community projects local to the Jindera area.

JSF has provided all required information to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to complete our application for Development Consent. The last round of responses to submissions included revised environmental, visual and noise impact assessments, to analyse the changes in impacts resulting from design modifications that accommodated an increase in setbacks from neighbouring properties, and also a significant retention of biodiversity areas, to reduce the overall environmental impact. These documents can be found on the DPIE Major Projects Portal.

DPIE is currently undertaking their assessment of the application and working towards completing their recommendation, which will then go to the Independent Planning Commission for final assessment and determination.

In hopes of a favourable determination and to show our commitment to progressing the proposed project, we are continuing our preliminary site investigation works, conducting a range of geological and geotechnical investigations and tests to assist us to better understand the site conditions, in respect to options for future construction. All geotechnical investigation is temporary in nature and the land will not change from its current state once the preliminary investigation works is complete.

This site work will be relatively non-intensive and is currently planned to be approximately 12-16 on site days during weekdays, spread over an eight-week period during August to October, subject to weather conditions. It is expected that any impact on any neighbouring residence will be minor and not be too dissimilar to an impact from regular farming operations. This will include the use of machinery and vehicles on various locations across the site, for test piles, test bore hole and test pits. As stated, all work is temporary, meaning test piles will be removed, and pits/ holes will be backfilled and restored.

JSF also continues to build our expression of interest register of local suppliers and potential work force, with the goal of having a maximum portion of work force and supply chain from local sources. We also continue to investigate further training and education opportunities with local providers and institutions.