A temporary workers accommodation village for the New England Solar Farm is no longer required, after positive discussions with alternative accommodation providers in the region and feedback from locals.
The temporary accommodation facility was included in the development application to the NSW Government for the solar farm to help house the expected number of construction workers.
However, after continuing our investigation into accommodation availability we now expect to use a combination of more local and regionally-based workers and higher utilization of temporary accommodation services throughout the region. We have therefore advised the NSW Government that the accommodation facility can be removed from the development application, which they are currently considering.
Transportation to and from the solar farm site will also be coordinated by the construction contractor, with workers able to utilize shuttle services from strategically placed muster points across the region.
Aside from workers residing in and around Uralla and other nearby towns, accommodation providers in regional centres such as Armidale and Tamworth and throughout the region will benefit from additional income generated by the solar farm’s construction workforce.
Any potential impacts from the construction and operation of the temporary accommodation village on the local Kelly’s Plains and Uralla community are now also avoided.
As a result of ongoing discussions with the local community, UPC Renewables has also agreed to restrict excessive noise generating construction activities to standard working hours only, if the project is approved.
A small portion of land on the northern boundary has also been excluded from the development area, to help further avoid the potential for impacts on views from neighbouring properties.
UPC Renewables Australia Head of Solar Development Killian Wentrup said the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) had been informed of the changes.
“We are continuing to talk to all our neighbours and the wider community to make sure our proposal is the best it can be,” Mr Wentrup said.
“We want the solar farm to be an important part of the local community for many years to come, and make a major contribution to the local and regional economy.”
DPIE is currently reviewing the latest project refinements before issuing its Assessment Report. The report will be provided to the Independent Planning Commission, once established, which will be the consent authority for the project.
Local community members and other stakeholders can continue to ask questions or provide feedback on the proposal via firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 1300 250 479 or on the New England Solar Farm Facebook page @newenglandsolarfarm.