4 June, 2024

Passing on the message

Somerset Council has received about 200 submissions into the proposed Hazeldean battery storage facility near Kilcoy. The deadline for submissions closed on May 31, with 141 received on the last day.

Sign put up to inform residents of proposal.
Sign put up to inform residents of proposal.

While details of the submissions have not been made public yet, an online petition opposing the development has already gathered nearly 400 signatures and the group’s Facebook page also has over 200 members.

Among the many reasons residents are opposing the project is due to the fear of property devaluation and disturbance, given the proposed development site is located in a rural zone, between two residential estates, with dozens of nearby residential properties.

Re/Max real estate agent Chris Wease, who has helped property buyers and sellers in the area for 18 years, said the project would not be good for homeowners.

“Nobody wants a project like this in their neighbourhood,” he said.

Mr Wease said a project like this would have impacts on not only residents’ right to peace but the value and saleability of their properties.

“Many of these properties will be in a direct line of sight to the facility, which will have a major visual impact for property owners, not to mention a potential increase to noise and traffic in the area,” he said.

“Although it’s impossible to say the amount it may devalue each property, the impacts to each property will vary depending on its proximity and unique point of view in relation to the facility.”

Mr Wease added that many of the property owners in that region moved there to enjoy peace and quiet, on top of the beautiful scenic rural and water views.

“The proposed site is located within very close proximity and upstream to the Somerset Lake, which raises questions about the choice of site, with the risk of contamination to a major SEQ water supply, should there ever be chemical leaks or a catastrophic fire,” he said.

“Most residents aren’t objecting to the facility itself but the choice of location.

“Surely there is a better, less populated location where there will be less impact and risk to our community, residence and valuable tourist income.”

An Enervest spokesperson said the site was chosen because it was well positioned to support a reliable energy system, while minimising environmental, visual and other disturbances.

The spokesperson added that Australian and global experience suggests impact on land values are limited and temporary, “with potential long-term increases due to investment in community infrastructure”.

“We nonetheless take these and other concerns very seriously and will work with local and trusted experts to ensure any development prioritises safety, wellbeing, and investment in the local community”, they said.

The spokesperson also said operational noise during construction and after would meet EPA requirements.

Somerset Council said it had received a briefing from the company with the purpose of informing elected Council members and senior officers about the proposal.

Council’s Director of Planning and Development, Luke Hannan, said a decision on the development application (DA) is yet to be considered by council.

“Council officers will consider submissions received and complete the assessment of the development application in accordance with the requirements prescribed in Council’s planning scheme and the State Government’s Planning Act 2016,” he said.

Submitters and residents should be aware that developments of this scale take some time to assess.

“Public safety and environmental management are key parts of Council’s assessment and consideration.”

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