Corangamite Shire Council will write to the Victorian planning minister opposing key elements of the $6 million Cobden Solar Farm in its latest rejection of "ad hoc" renewable energy proposals.
Councillors voted to submit the response at a meeting on Tuesday night, stating the 22.26 hectare, 5MW solar energy facility earmarked for new frontage at Cobden-South Ecklin Road and Cobden-Terang Road failed to take into account council priorities.
Central ward councillor Geraldine Conheady said it was 'disappointing' the proposal lacked community and key stakeholder engagement.
"This is most disappointing and suggests a disregard for our communities, our landscape and the social licence that we are entitled to," Cr Conheady said.
South-west ward councillor Kate Makin took the opportunity to re-iterate council's support for renewable energy in a hybrid system, but said it was not a strategic priority for the shire.
"By all means we are not against renewables," Cr Makin said.
"It's where they're being put and how the minister is just accepting where they need to go without any planning or forefront knowledge.
"We're a very big agricultural area and taking away great land of ours is not fantastic for the community or anyone else involved in the shire.
"Community consultation has been quite poor with everyone involved."
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South-central ward councillor Jo Beard said she "felt like a broken record" repeating council's position on renewable energy projects, having recently made a similar submission for the Bostocks Creek Solar Farm.
"This isn't the first time we've had to put in a submission for a renewable planning project just like this," Cr Beard said.
"I feel like its deja vu and each time I say 'we're not against renewable energy' but that's starting to wear thin for me.
"I feel like it's coming at what cost? We've always said we're not against renewable energy but there needs to be some kind of consideration as to what this is doing to our regional and rural areas, in particular our productive farming land which is fragmenting that land.
"There's this ad hoc placement whether it be wind or solar, there's no strategic plan from the state government and it's seriously wearing thin on our communities."
Both Cr Beard and north ward councillor Nick Cole took particular issue with the proposed installation of transmission lines across farmland.
"Only a few days ago on March 17 we had the St Patrick's Day anniversary four years ago and this area is exactly where those fires ripped through," Cr Beard said.
"To not even listen to our planning department to do better bushfire risk assessment work was totally disregarded."
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