April 12th 2010
Solar Park critic urges Islanders to attend Wednesday meeting
Following is a letter from Island resident Mike Schmidt urging people to attend the Magnetic Island Solar Park meeting.
RE: SOLAR FARM ON SPORTS GROUNDS AND ALLOCATED GREEN SPACE.
There is a public notice about the Magnetic Island Solar Park having a Community Meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday the 14th of April at the Centre. I implore everyone to attend because, from what I understand, this will be your last chance to have a say. I would like to put some reminders of why I feel that this project should not go ahead on “OUR SPORTS GROUNDS”
(1) This Solar project is a full blown Industrial/commercial money making scheme. Ergon will sell the power generated from the project thru your home meters for a minimum of twenty five years.
(2) This industrial farm should not be allowed to be built on our Sports fields and/or allocated Green Space.
(3) I assume TCC will have to be “renting/leasing” these grounds to the project. They already rent/lease out the sports club building, Telstra/Optus Tower grounds and Rural Fire Brigade area.
(4) This Industrial Project will have dangerous voltages generated in itself and by WPH& Safety Standards alone will have to have protection to the General Public installed. Fences come to mind and/or constructed at elevations where no one can access them. Although lower, the D.C. voltages that would be generated have a far higher potential to burn their victim than what A.C voltages have.
(5) This property was developed by the island people for the island people and visitors for their sport and rec, then, now and for the future – not for industrial purposes.
(6) If we are not allowed to have play swings etc under the shade trees then how is it that we can have concentrated play under an industrial suspension of panels?
(7) The Club House will be lost for ever to the project.
(8) The planned structure of 45kw was going to cost $150,000.00. What is the costing to this present project where it is now in the order of ten times more complex? Whatever the cost it makes the thousands that it might cost for a cooler, environmental, aesthetically appealing shade cloth/sail for the skate park look like a sneeze in the storm.
(9) On that note everybody should realize that the project is to provide at its best 100kw compared to 5500kw average island consumption at present. Sneeze in a storm?
(10) Also for everybody to realize is that the submarine cables that presently come over are rated for 22,000 volts if not 33,000 volts and that we are running on the conservative 11,000 volts. This means that we are NOT looking to replace cables at any time in the future.
(11) I think that it is an insult on everyone’s intelligence that the project can be mooted a tourist attraction.
(12) Residents are already being scared off from using their grounds in varying degrees by way of the radiation fear from the Telstra/Optus Tower and the treated sewage water greening the grounds; what more – Ergon maintenance trucks and Rural Fire Trucks let alone the thief in the night.
(13) I also see a TRADE EXPO planned – Is that our sport and rec being turned into a commercial advertising venue for Ergon to sell more solar systems?
Summary: The planned hotch-potch of structures – skate park shade, bus terminal, them and our shades, stage shade, BBQ shades, a building to house the electrics etc, etc, does not add up to anything real for the community for the costs involved, rather it is so obviously a land grab for Industrial purposes and well being for the commercial sector. This project cost projection; if it comes in under a million dollars, then good; but what is the cost of skate park sails in comparison? I am glad that I am not the one putting my hand in the air to explain the costs for the benefit. I am also reminded that the shades are not full shades and are not weatherproof. I fear that the visual amenity of Magnetic Island’s sports grounds is going to be destroyed by the front gate monstrosities. I still firmly believe that this farm is welcome to be constructed elsewhere on the island where it is more appropriate and at far, far less cost.
Given the nature of Mike's comments it seemed appropriate that the Solar Cities team be given an opportunity to respond. Below is a brief comment from Solar Cities Community Engagement Manager, Julie Heath.
"The Solar City team is prepared to fund a Solar Park that is acceptable to the community and achieves the aim of generating renewable electricity from the sun on Magnetic Island for all to use. We believe the current proposal for a cover to the Skate Park and adjacent areas is a great solution and we welcome your feedback on the new plans. Please come along to the public meeting on 14th April at 7:30 at the Smart Lifestyle Centre where issues already raised can be clarified, and any further questions can be answered. Our proposed Solar Park and Skate Park cover needs your support before it will proceed."
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