Fremantle council approves advertising of solar farm draft business plan despite residents’ resistance

The site of the proposed solar farm. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
The site of the proposed solar farm. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

FREMANTLE council has approved the advertising of a draft business plan for an urban solar farm at a former landfill site on Cockburn Road despite angry residents making their voices heard at its meeting.

The plan, which was passed unanimously by councillors last night, will allow The City to advertise the draft business plan.

The former landfill site along Cockburn Road is classified a contaminated site because sand caps that cover the waste may include asbestos-containing material, according to a report by the Department of Water and Environment Regulation.

The project has been under consideration since May 2014 and a public meeting was held on March 1 where engineers from Eupron answered community questions.

A resident who lives in near the site said he was “disgusted” how the project was “sneakily and underhandedly pushed through”.

Question time became heated with about 10 residents from South Fremantle and North Coogee criticising the project and producing placards.

The former landfill site along Cockburn Road is classified a contaminated site because sand caps that cover the waste may include asbestos-containing material, according to a report by the Department of Water and Environment Regulation.

A resident who lives in near the site said he was “disgusted” how the project was “sneakily and underhandedly pushed through”.

“I am speaking to you (Mayor Brad Pettitt) as a father, father to father,” he said.

“(Fremantle council) are absolutely forcing me to fight tooth and nail to have this project stopped.

“We absolutely don’t give up.

“If you are prepared to take on that fight bring it on; it will be very vicious and this project will be 100 per cent stopped.”

A North Coogee resident said he was not aware of the level of contamination on the site.

“More testing needs to be done on the site,” he said.

“The site plan raises more questions than answers.”

Dr Pettittand City business director Glen Dougall repeated on a number of occasions that this was a business plan and the final plan had not been approved.

“We will only approve the proposal if it is safe to go ahead,” Dr Pettitt said.

Epuron senior project manager Anthony Melov said in a community meeting that they would mitigate risks as most it involves minimal ground disturbance.

“The cabling, the actual products are all above ground,” he said.

Mr Melov said if any ground needed to be disturbed then “rigorous pre-testing would occur before any digging” happened.

Advertising will begin on April 30 on My Say Freo website, City of Fremantle website and social media.

The community will be able to comment on the business plan on My Say Freo or make a written submission.

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