Solar farm could go ahead despite council rejection
A SOLAR farm outside Kingaroy may still go ahead despite the council's rejection of proposed plans.
South Burnett Regional Council rejected the proposal for the solar farm to be built on a site 3km outside Kingaroy, during a council meeting on November 21.
The proposed development for the 40 megawatt solar farm run by Terrain Solar was refused by the council because it did not protect the Class A good quality agricultural land on the proposed 118 hectare site.
Deputy mayor Kathy Duff said the council was elected to protect the land and preserve it beyond the solar farm's projected lifespan of 50 years.
"It is what it is, it's good agricultural land and that's what we protect," she said.
The developer, Terrain Solar, will have a period of time to decide whether they will accept or appeal the council's decision.
Corporate services general manager Peter O'May said the developer would consider options.
"Is there alternative land available that isn't good agricultural land?" he said.
Mayor Keith Campbell said the proposed site spreads across two lease lots and access easement, which is currently used for small-scale rural use, such as cattle grazing, associated outbuildings and dwellings.
"The applicant has failed to demonstrate there are sufficient grounds to override conflicts in the planning instruments relating to the protection and enhancement of good quality agricultural land," he said.
The council decided the proposed development would not promote growth in agricultural production, it did not facilitate opportunities for the co-existence of the development and agricultural uses without reducing the agricultural productivity.
Councillor Terry Fleischfresser said the proposed development does not protect Class A good quality agriculture land for sustainable agricultural use.
"It will have an avoidable unacceptable impact for 50 years, which is a time frame akin to being irreversible," he said.
Councillor Gavin Jones said the proposal had to tick all of the boxes.
"I'm definitely not against the solar farm, but possibly a better location, I'd love to see some solar farms around here," he said.
If the decision to refuse the proposal is challenged by the developer, the council will need to engage another consulting authority to defend the case on behalf of the council.
Councillor Gavin Jones said it may come down to a state decision, not a local government decision.
"What we decide here may be irrelevant, it may be taken out of our hands and into the state's, who will decide whether or not it goes ahead," he said.