(17/5/2018) Solar Farm Business Plan out for comment
The business plan detailing the lease arrangements for the proposed South Fremantle solar farm has been released for public comment.
The Local Government Act requires councils to prepare and advertise a business plan whenever they undertake a commercial enterprise like a major land transaction.
The business plan is required to provide details on issues like the financial implications of the project for the City, how the project relates to the City’s strategic plan and how the project will impact on the City’s ability to deliver facilities and services.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the community would have six weeks to provide feedback on the business plan.
“It’s important to note that the business plan relates to the financial aspects of the project like the terms of the lease, not planning or environmental issues,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“However, anyone seeking more information on the solar farm or wishing to make a comment on the environmental or planning aspects of the project can still do so on our My Say Freo website.
“I want to be very clear that council will not let this development proceed unless we are satisfied it is safe to do so.
“The idea of developing a solar farm was endorsed by the council in 2013 on the basis that the panel structures could sit on the surface of the soil and would require little or no excavation or disturbance of the site.
“In the areas where some ground disturbance is contemplated the soil will be tested beforehand for potentially hazardous material. No disturbance of the site will occur unless it is deemed safe.
“In fact, we’re confident the solar farm will actually make the area safer because it will help reduce the amount of dust blowing off the site, and prevent any higher impact development of what is currently a contaminated site for the next 20 years or more.
“While we are enthusiastic about being able to make use of a site which currently has very limited practical applications, we are mindful of the need to ensure its impact is managed and the benefits for residents are maximised.
“One of the great things about the solar farm is that it has the potential to provide an alternate source of green energy for community and commercial purposes. Construction and operation of the solar farm would also mean little – if any – cost to ratepayers.”
The solar farm is a key component towards the City achieving its One Planet Strategy target of being powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
It is proposed to be built on the former South Fremantle landfill site, which was used for waste disposal from the 1930s until 1991 and is registered as a contaminated site.
The City of Fremantle has been investigating land use and management options for the site since 1985.
Following an Expression of Interest process the City signed an exclusive working agreement with Australian renewable energy company Epuron in 2015. Epuron submitted a development application for the project in January this year.
Planning approval for the project was granted by the City in April, but there are a number of conditions that must be satisfied prior to development commencing.
This includes the preparation of a Site Management Plan, which must be reviewed and approved by an independent contaminated sites auditor.
The Solar Farm Business Plan is available for viewing and comment on the My Say Freo website and at the City of Fremantle’s Service and Information Desk. The public comment period closes on 21 June 2018.
To find more information or comment on the environmental and planning aspects of the project visit the South Fremantle Solar Farm page on My Say Freo.