Stage 1 involves the preparation of the site, including roads and parking, while the solar panels will be transported and installed at the site during stage 2.
Stage 3 will comprise of post construction works including rehabilitation work to Blowers Rd and broader drainage and landscape treatments.
Once completed, the project is expected to generate many thousands of kilowatts in electricity to connect to the Ergon network.
It is yet undeterined as to how many jobs the solar farm would create.
The project’s approval marks the fourth major renewable initiative in the Fraser Coast.
It comes after a major deal was struck with a London based hedge fund to deliver two Queensland solar farms with capital costs of more than $300 million.
Australian solar developer Esco announced affiliates of Elliott Advisers would take 100 per cent of the Susan River solar farm, near Maryborough, and the Childers solar farm, near Bundaberg.
Both projects have now reached financial close, but neither has an offtake agreement meaning the electricity generated will be sold into the spot market.
Esco managing director Steve Rademaker said Elliott was prepared to fund the projects through to connection, entirely with equity.
Esco will remain as asset managers under a long-term contract.
Esco Pacific Managing Director and founder Steve Rademaker said Australian merchant solar remains an attractive opportunity for experienced investors.
“Esco looks forward to bringing jobs and growth to regional Australia through its extensive pipeline of highly advanced projects currently under development,” Mr Rademaker said.
Two major projects in Teebar and North Aramara were approved last year with construction pending.
Teebar Clean Energy director Greg McGarvie said the company was currently resolving the regulatory requirements to start construction on their multi-million dollar project.
“We’re working towards resolving everything so we can get a start on the project,” Mr McGarvie said.
Infrastructure councillor Denis Chapman said the boom in major renewable projects was “something out of the future”.
“Any work in this region is a bonus, we’ve got to generate employment, and this is the way forward,” Cr Chapman said.
“The more of these projects we can approve for the region, the more prosperous we will become
Commencement of construction of Esco Pacific’s Childers And Susan River Solar Farms in Queensland isn’t far off, and other Esco large-scale PV projects are progressing.
Childers River Solar Farm
To be situated 60km south of the Bundaberg’s CBD and 15km south-east from the township of Childers, the project web site states the facility will be up to 120MW (NewsMail reports it as being 75MW). Esco Pacific states the facility will consist of approximately 400,000 solar panels mounted on single axis trackers. Development approval for the project was granted by Bundaberg Regional Council in December 2016 and construction is expected to start in the next month or two.
Susan River Solar Farm
Approved by Fraser Coast Regional Council in December 2016, the $175-million Susan River Solar Farm will be up to 100MW capacity and built on a site approximately 17 kilometres from Hervey Bay. The Susan River project web site indicates the ~350,000 solar panels will be either be fixed or mounted on horizontal trackers. Construction of the facility is expected to start in the second quarter of this year and involves a build time of approximately 12 months.
Other Esco PV Projects
Also in the works is Ross River Solar Farm, which should be completed before the end of the year. Located 20 kilometres south of Townsville, the 148MW facility will generate enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 54,000 homes.
“It is clear that Australian merchant solar remains an attractive opportunity for experienced investors,” said ESCO Pacific managing director and founder Steve Rademaker. “ESCO looks forward to continue bringing jobs and growth to regional Australia through its extensive pipeline of highly advanced projects currently under development.”
The company has also secured planning approvals for three other solar farms – Munna Creek (QLD – 120MW), Rollingstone (QLD – 110MW) and Koberinga (QLD – up to 55MW).
Last month, we reported the company had proposed a 140MW solar farm that may include battery storage for a site near the town of Mulwala in New South Wales.
Also in New South Wales, ESCO’s Finley Solar Farm is awaiting approval. To be located to the west of the township of Finley in the Berrigan Shire Council region, the facility will be up to 170 MW capacity. At that size, it will boast around half a million solar panels. As the project is classified a State Significant Development, the application is being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning.
A $60 MILLION dollar shopping centre and cinema development has been given the green light by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
Including a roof deck, underground car park, office buildings, a cinema and food court, the Urraween development was given the tick of approval by 10 of the 11 councillors.
Councillor Stuart Taylor was the only person to vote against the development.
The complex will be located on Bay Dr, Urraween opposite Stockland Hervey Bay.
Town planning firm Adam and Sparkes lodged the application on behalf of Quattro Liuzzi Pty Ltd last year, but it is unclear when construction will start.
Councillor Dennis Chapman said he was thrilled the development had been approved, adding that the construction of the project would bring jobs to the region.
He said the new cinema would be state of the art and would offer a great viewing experience for audiences.
“It’s top of the range, it’s all digital, all the latest technology that you can use in a cinema, that’s what they want to use in this cinema,” Cr Chapman said.
He said there were “five star offices” within the the development as well.
“With having five star offices, we can get state and federal officers and try to encourage them to come into regional Queensland, move out of Brisbane and try to come into regional Queensland.
“Because we need those jobs back here, we need people working in offices like that.”
Cr Taylor said he only voted against the project because of issues with the planning scheme, not because he didn’t support the project.
“I have no objection to the cinema, the theatre, in the proposal as it stands,” he said.
“My issue is, is it defined as impact assessable or code assessable.
“Our planning scheme specifically refers to theatres and indicates it should be impact accessable.
“We’ve assessed that it’s code assessable because the officers have deemed it to be a shopping centre.
“The difference between code assessable and impact assessable is simply that with impact accessible the community has the chance to place objections, those objections have to be considered and if that person who makes the objection is not comfortable with the decision, they can appeal it.
“Those appealing processes through the courts are diminished through code assessable.”\
A LUXURY $140 million RV resort is officially under way in Hervey Bay.
The first sod will be turned on Wednesday at the site of Latitude25, a gated community specifically designed for RV and lifestyle enthusiasts.
The development, at Spring Way, Nikenbah, spans 20 hectares and will eventually be home to about 530 people in up to 281 homes.
It encompasses two lakes, green open space, parks, picnic areas and a $5 million state-of-the-art clubhouse and leisure centre.
Each home will have its own purpose-built garage to house its owner’s toys, whether they be an RV, cars or boat.
There will be a mail collection and forwarding service for when residents are on the road, although the full-size tennis courts, bowling green, golf chipping and putting green, billiard room, arts and crafts and games rooms, gym, pool, catering kitchen and bar may make even the keenest grey nomad stay home more.
Director Mick Irwin said Latitude25 would be unlike any other lifestyle community before.
“I’m a local and also an RVer myself, so I’ve seen the need for this style of community for quite some time,” he said.
The clubhouse and leisure centre are due for completion early next year, with the first 15 homes also due to be finished in early 2018.
Home packages will start from $450,000 to $550,000.
$5 million leisure centre with tennis courts, bowling green, library, wifi, gym, pool
Significant wash bay for largest of RVs
First homes ready early 2018
Additional RV spaces connected to utilities for family and friends to visit
Easy access to airport, Bruce Hwy and main roads connecting to Maryborough and marina
A PRELIMINARY development approval for the $60 million Scarness resort complex was carried unanimously at Wednesday’s Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.
The proposal for the resort complex, which includes more than 100 residential units, a shopping complex and office complexes, means the developers will start their assessment of the site and consult with council before construction.
A new roundabout for the local streets in Scarness was also mentioned in the development plans.
Councillor David Lewis raised concerns over the traffic in the area, claiming the development would create problems for the Esplanade streets.
“The proposed roundabout will pose problems for the Queens Rd Esplanade intersection, which is already problematic especially in busy times,” he said.
“In busy times, it (the traffic) can back up a long way along the Esplandade.”
Cr Denis Chapman said it was about trying to use the commercial land as best as possible.
“It’s just a preliminary approval…they’ve got to come back to us and approve it. When you’ve got commercial land, you try and use as much of it as possible,” he said.
TWO councillors have voiced their opposition to building high-rises in Hervey Bay, while others want to wait to consider the development application and how it fits into the town planning scheme before voicing any opinions.
Fraser Coast Deputy Mayor George Seymour said he was against the plans for a 20-storey twin tower development in Urangan, which he described as a massive increase in density and not how the community wanted Hervey Bay to develop.
Division 1 councillor James Hansen agreed, saying it would change the character of Hervey Bay forever and for the worse, in his opinion.
Councillor Denis Chapman voiced his support for the project, saying it was crucial for the region to continue building infrastructure, which would lead to population growth and jobs.
“I think it’s great for our region,” he said.
“It’s the way of the future.”
He said in order to hold on to green space in the area, it was necessary to consider options like high rises, which would allow for housing while minimising the region’s urban footprint.
Councillor David Lewis said he was not generally in favour of 20-storey development in Hervey Bay, but as the previous council had amended the planning scheme to allow such developments, there may be little the council could do to refuse the application.
“It is entitled to be assessed on its merits in accordance with the scheme,” he said.
Mr Lewis said he felt a 20- storey development would significantly and irrevocably alter the character of the city and its shoreline.
“Previous councils had a policy of trying to limit buildings to no higher than the tree line,” he said.
“In part this took into account the view from the beaches and the sea.
“I think that was a good policy.”
Councillor Paul Truscott said the planning scheme specifically supported this type of development.
“I will consider the development on its merits when it is presented to full council,” he said.
Councillor Darren Everard said he also needed time to consider the application before voicing an opinion, while councillor Rolf Light said it would be inappropriate to make a comment before considering all the facts and whether the development met the criteria in the current town planning scheme.
Councillors Anne Maddern, Daniel Sanderson, Stuart Taylor and Mayor Chris Loft were contacted, but had not responded at the time of going to print.
**This is a great opportunity for us Fraser Coast residents to join the real world & get jobs & prosperity for the region.Not only in construction but thereafter with servicing the development & its occupants.We have many kilometres of beach shoreline in the Fraser Coast Region and just a tiny portion of that allocated for such a development is a pittance of a price to pay for the good it will do & bring to the community. Most of us are getting tired of this region being branded as one of the most unemployed regions in the nation.
The quicker this and similar developments take shape the better but in a controlled and well planned manner.
The proposed open-cut Colton coal mine is facing a legal challenge in the Queensland Land Court in Brisbane.
Community group Aldershot and District Against Mining has objected to the mine based on dust and noise concerns as well as Colton’s proposal to discharge water into the Mary River.
But Colton lawyer Damien O’Brien told the court the proposed water discharge was not involved in the mining process and was “chemically benign”.
Mr O’Brien said the discharge could help offset water released from an upstream sewage treatment plant.
“It’s actually of a cleaner standard than the water in the Mary River,” Mr O’Brien said.
He said the water was runoff collected from the mine and stored in a different dam than any water used in the mining process.
Mr O’Brien said experts from Colton and ADAM agreed on noise and dust restrictions – except for the possibility of real-time noise monitoring.
The hearing is expected to finish later this week.
EARLIER: Controversial New Hope Coal project dragged into court
A PROPOSED Fraser Coast coal mine will be the focal point of a Brisbane court hearing today.
The Land Court this morning will start hearing arguments in the legal challenge against the proposed Colton open-cut coal mine near Maryborough.
Aldershot and District Against Mining Group will argue the New Hope Coal project could put the Great Sandy Strait at risk if it is allowed to go ahead with plans to discharge untreated waste water from the mine into the Mary River.
The group will argue drinking water could be tainted, there will be excess noise from the mine and coal dust could also be a major issue for the residents of Aldershot.
The proposed mine is about 2km outside the village.
HOPES for Granville’s $600 million Mary Harbour Project have been revived, with MSF Sugar chief executive officer Mike Barry revealing the development proposal was still being considered by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
The housing and lifestyle project looked to be dead in the water in December after the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act, introduced by Katter’s Australia Party and supported by independent member Billy Gordon and the LNP, was passed in the Queensland Parliament.
At the time MSF Sugar, which is owned by Thai company Mitr Phol, looked set to put the project on ice, with Barry saying the bill had created “uncertainty and discomfort” for the company.
However Mr Barry said that it would not cost Mitr Phol any additional money to let the council consider whether the project would get approval, a decision which was due to be handed down in April.
He said there was still time for changes to be made regarding the Sugar Industry Amendment Act.
“We think commonsense will prevail,” he said.
The bill was referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by the Labor Government in the days after it was passed.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said he remained in constant contact with Mr Barry.
A letter had been sent from the Queensland Government to the Federal Government about the issue and Mr Saunders said they were willing to take it all the way to the High Court if necessary.
Attempts were made to contact member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen, but no response had been received at the time of going to print.
Head of economics for the Queensland Canegrowers Association Warren Sales said the bill was not controversial as far as growers were concerned.
He said the bill simply offered growers greater choice when it came to the marketing of their product and most were happy with their existing arrangements.
“It’s business as usual.”
There is uncertainty with people on this project Mary River.
Some kind of a con they say.
The way I see it they are having a go, the area would benefit big time in every way with this project. If FCRC are procrastinating then they are the problem.
We have elected & are paying them to make things happen.
Like solicitors.They should not tell u not to do something.
You pay them to make it happen & find a way to do it.
We must look at then councilor team we have on deck now to see if they have the metal, experience & ability 2 make things happen for the Fraser Coast.
Riding on the shirt tails of decisions already made by investors & developers by FCRC Councillors does not give our elected reps any brownie points.
We must make sure our council team is on the ball. Sorry so far.The election will determine the next level of expertise team in the Fraser Coast.