We wish to strongly OBJECT to the Winterbourne, Walcha - Wind Farm development SSD-10471.
Thank you for the opportunity to voice our opinions.
As a Transport Company in Walcha, we will be heavily impacted.
We employ over 16 staff + contractors
This has been a stressful time for our business - with the unknown that this project brings and our real concerns at the impacts and obvious flaws in this proposed EIS.
The TRAFFIC will go directly passed our business door.
The traffic impact assessment is deficient in many aspects of the Winterbourne EIS and we have some very serious concerns.
Don't get us wrong - we are supporters of renewable energy.
But the Wacha area is the just
WRONG Size and the
We also strongly believe that Wind Energy, will be defunct in a few years and our small township and beautiful farmland, will be left as an industrial wasteland.
The LOCATION, of the project.
All movements will not only affect our ability to complete jobs, our scheduling and timeframes, will also be unknown. It will be very disruptive to our business and the township and will very inconvenient. Whilst Vestas make it look like traffic will flow around the town, the reality is that the traffic, will be travelling through the township, past residences, business', the Walcha Preschool, the show ground & sporting facilities. In the POOR SITE SELECTION-the developer has failed with statutory obligations to consider feasible alternatives to the site. The site selection and the proposed sizing of the site at 700MW unfairly intensifies impact on a small rural community like Walcha. It is totally inconsistent with any strategic land use planning and against the interests maintaining high quality agricultural land.
If wind energy was to come to our area - it really shouldn't leave the NEW England or Pacific highways. These big major roads, can handle the large volumes of traffic. And it becomes a state government road maintenance issue. This should not be made a local government issue. How is our small council to cope with this burden. For so many reasons.
POACHING STAFF - We can not fill vacancies in our business now. And the problem is systematic, all over the Walcha Town. We have staff with specific skill sets. They would be a target for sure. After phoning a taxi driver in MILES, QLD & ROMA, QLD, they have told us of the significance and the projects in their areas and the impact on their small towns and businesses. Walcha is much smaller than both these towns. We seriously think that this will have a detrimental affect on our business and effectively our town. The developers say they employ locals and offer 400 jobs. They come in and offer twice, what local business are paying. This sends local, established business, family owned business broke. Who just can not find staff to continue to run their businesses. All the investment in apprentices are gone. This means that schools & shops are affected too. When the project is over, these locals, who have been working on the project, have no local jobs to come back to. You then have families leaving town, to look for work. As the businesses, just don't exist anymore. One taxi driver told us that it decimated the township of Miles and that the town will never be the same again or take a very long, long time to recover. In addition, they also added that their crime rate increased. In a small town, that was quite immune to the town, this left a sour taste in the locals mouths. And another reason that they wishes that they had fought harder to object to the projects. Surely we can learn from other, small towns advice.
The ROADS & TRAFFIC CONGESTION IMPACT, within the project site are school bus routes. The risk to children walking and riding their bikes on these routes and waiting on the side of the road, for buses is frightening. The challenge is also increased - as there will be inexperienced, out of town drivers, driving on our road, increasing the risk to our school children. The only way around this is to stop completely at beginning of the school day and at the end. Who is going to be accountable if there is an accident?
Of the trucks on the Oxley Highway, during the 3 year construction period, with 288 trucks per day, during the 11 months of peak construction, there will be much traffic congestion. The MASSIVE IMPACT on the existing gravel resource. As well as our local traffic. This is a HUGE impact. After liaising with another local road construction specialist business in Walcha. We have been advised that the Construction of 113klms of road PLUS hardstands, is estimated to require 850,000 tonnes of road building to get the roads to Vestas requirements. For perspective, our only registered gravel pit in Walcha, has a current annual licence of 29,000 cubic metres. (10% of this requirement) Assuming that a 38t truck & dog configuration is used, this is over 22,000 truck loads in total, with an unknown portion of this gravel coming into the project area. The EIS does not include the majority of these gravel and water movements, in their assessment., as they do not even know, where the water and gravel is coming from. Another Flaw in their EIS Statement. and where is their water source... The EIS Suggests harvestable rights, bores, farms, dams or Walcha Councvil Supply(Surely NOT). The scale of this requirement is scarily, staggering. 2024 is predicted to be another dry year. Surely they can not be so greedy and take our precious water resource. That would empty our Walcha Dam storage, currently under construction, more than two times over. Put another way that is 56,000 water cart movements at an average water cart size of 12,000litres.... Of note - To our knowledge - Vestas hasn't even signed off on the traffic plan. How can all of the movements and a decision to move forward if there are still major issues like this, hanging in the balance?
The DEVEOPERS - have failed to identify that the project roads are popular with tourists and cyclists, headed out to our National Park areas and quite frequently use Emu Creek Rd, Moona Plains Rd, Winterbourne Rd and Blue Mountain Road. There are also frequently pedestrians between the Walcha Township and the Summervale Village, where the project traffic will add 588 vehicles to each road, each day (including 288 heavy vehicles).
There has been a POOR CONSULTATION process both with Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities. Talking to a local elder, she is appalled at the blatant, disrespect. Talking to local member Adam Marshall, this EIS Statement is the worst, he has ever seen. He has dealt with mines out west and EIS Statements and he advises that this Winterbourne EIS, is disillusioned and full of flaws. A developer, with no experience in the construction, at all.
The RISK - there will be a large amount of traffic, travelling on the Oxley highway Walcha Township and the rural Walcha Roads, as a result of the project. I am concerned about the wear and tear on the roads and the risk to motorists. Who will be responsible for the extra wear and tear. Councils can not keep up with the damaged pavements now.
ACCOMODATION - from time to time we employ sub contractors to come in a job, with us. These sub contractors stay in our local accommodation. Where are we mean to house these sub contractors, if all the accomodation is booked out in town. This is most concerning and of interest, where they will house all the project workers????
Community Fund - will not benefit all the towns people. No one has come to our door to tell us, how it will benefit us. Only a select few.
ERROR RIDDEN EIS - We have attended local meetings - to be informed. An EIS Specilist has been on hand to give advice to the general public - for those that are untrained in reading through EIS's. He is also a laywer. He has also strongly that the EIS is laughably flawed. It has been written with litte experience as a developer. And many errors pointed out. Alarm bells should be ringing. Early errors, pointed out to the planning department - have already forced the Developer's hand, into publishing corrections - how many times can this occur... ? Is the EIS totally dysfunctional... surely this can not go ahead. The only winner is the Developer. I wouldn't even say the land holders. They will eventually have to deal with decommissioning and that is a huge concern in itself and the generations to come, effectively in 67 years....
There is just too much at stake for our farming community. This project can not be allowed to go ahead.
From town - we will also be visually impacted.
We don't even like the thought of these wind factories, being seen in our beautiful area. We really think it will affect our tourism industry too.
If you asked our opinion... the people who vote for the politican's -who ultimately make and impose these decisions...
If we had to have offer a solution, it would be, Off the mainland and out to sea wind energy, is a way forward. You do not impact the land and the people in small rural areas.
or you have soooo many buildings in cities - with nothing on roof tops (solar/ housing energy units etc). Make use of the city buildings. Make them be of use.
That is our voice. We hope that you are listening. Hands off and Leave our tranquil farming and rural community alone. Let us do what we do best.