A $150 million solar farm at Bookaar looks set to go ahead after it was given the final seal of approval when a permit was issued last week.
The move is a milestone for the project which, although had been given the all-clear from the state government late last year, was held up when a group of objectors and Corangamite Shire Council took it back to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal to ensure key safeguards were put in place.
Objector Andrew Duynhoven said VCAT had this month signed off on the project for the solar farm after mediation hearings.
Mr Duynhoven said they were able to ensure some of their conditions were met, but not all of them.
"If you were to look back at the positive from when it was first flagged, it's format has changed to the better," he said.
"We were never going to win in the end, that's why we ended up mediating and got a few more conditions through."
Conditions of the permit mean the project needs to start within three years and be completed within six.
The council's manager of planning and building services Aaron Moyne said the project was now subject to comprehensive permit conditions in relation to drainage and bushfire and emergency management.
"It's a milestone for the project," he said.
Mr Moyne said the council was yet to have discussions with the company about timing of the project.
The company behind the project, Pacific Infinergy, was contacted for comment about the project and when they planned to start work.
Mr Duynhoven said the mediation had meant there was now fire suppression on infrastructure and battery storage, and the number of water tanks had been increased from two to eight.
"There's a couple hundred thousand litres worth of water tanks to back up that suppression system which is automatic," he said.
Plans for a 200MW project 10km from Camperdown were first submitted to the shire in August 2018, which rejected it a month later. It was then knocked back by VCAT on appeal.
While VCAT had left the door open for the company behind the project to reapply, in 2019 the state government changed planning guidelines for large-scale solar farms, bringing them into line with windfarms.
That move paved the way for the project to bypass the council process, and in 2020 the company made a revised application to the state government which eventually won the approval of the minister.
Mr Duynhoven said he expected the delays in the approval process had probably increased the cost of the project because of the rise in the cost of building materials.
Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the project had gone through a rigorous process and a lot of the concerns that were raised by the community had now been sorted out.
Concerns around drainage and fire had been tightened up through the VCAT process, she said. "We've taken it as far as we can," Cr Gstrein said.
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