Moruya resident not happy solar farm could be built next door

Phil Graham says the solar farm development application was lodged only weeks after he had settled at his new Moruya property.
Phil Graham says the solar farm development application was lodged only weeks after he had settled at his new Moruya property.

A Moruya resident said he would not have purchased his property if he knew a solar farm might be his neighbour for the next 30 years.  

Phil Graham settled into his 10-acre rural holding about three weeks before he found out developer Rio Indygen had lodged a development application for Bergalia Solar Farm.

The 30,000-panel proposal for Patons Road is one of three electricity-generating sites proposed for the area.

Mr Graham said the proposed development was "industrial" and should not be located on rural RU1-zoned land in the Eurobodalla Shire.

"I settled on the 30th of November last year. I bought it on RU1 land so I wouldn't have a development next to me, but that lasted 23 days and now I'm going to be living near an industrial site," he said.

"If policies like this take off, it doesn't give any confidence for anyone to invest in the shire.

"RU1 is to preserve rural land in its current state, not to turn it into an industrial site."

NEW VIEW: The view from Phil Graham's new property. A 30,000 panel solar farm might be built next door.

NEW VIEW: The view from Phil Graham's new property. A 30,000 panel solar farm might be built next door.

Mr Graham said he had lost faith in knowing where to purchase land in the shire.

"I didn't know what I was buying into," he said.

"If they want to put it here ... they (should) just buy us out, pay us the current market value and I'd be happy to move on and buy another farm."

However, he was unsure where he would buy, because there was no guarantee a solar site wouldn't be built next door. 

"There's no containment policy. You don't know where to buy in the shire now," he said.

Mr Graham said stress from the proposal went "through the whole community."

"They could solve all of this by putting as many solar panels on houses," he said. "It wouldn't look unsightly, the neighbourhood would be left intact ... people wouldn't be getting horrendous power bills. 

A Rio Indygen spokesman said information about the project could be found on their website.

Shire Mayor Liz Innes said she would accept public submissions after the due date of Friday, April 5.

She said the council's role was to consider the community's submissions, collate them, add recommendations from the state government's regional planning panel, "and they will be the ones to make decisions".

This story 'Didn't know what I was buying': Moruya man regrets purchase near proposed solar farm first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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