Mixed emotions as wind farm draws step closer

By Kate Ryan

BUSINESSES in Bombala have mixed emotions about the upcoming haulage of wind turbines as they make their way to the Boco Rock Wind Farm in Nimmitabel. 

Bombala IGA Supermarket owner Kelly Powell believes many business share her feelings about the prospect of the main street being closed – even for short periods – as the massive turbine components are transported through town.

“I’m happy that the wind farm is happening but I’m concerned about the street closing as most retailers in the street are,” she said. 

Ms Powell said she feels that communication about Maybe Street being closed could have been better from Bombala Shire Council. 

“I don’t recall seeing that letter about the meetings that were held but it could have been me misplacing it or just being busy. 

“These meetings were held 12 months ago and another factor is it’s very hard for a small business to prepare for something like that so far ahead of time,” she said. 

Mrs Powell said she still had limited rear parking available for customers.

The community meeting was attended by business owner Rochelle Badewitz who believes the communication from Bombala Shire Council was successful in informing the community about the transportation of turbines. 

Mrs Badewitz’s business Platypus Crash Repairs is located in Forbes Street near the roundabout that will undergo minor works to accommodate the oversize vehicles.

“The street will not be closed for more than 10 minutes and any damage that the trucks cause the transport company is going to pay for,” she said. 

Mrs Badewitz said that to her knowledge only four businesses from Bombala attended the 2013 meeting.

“I was surprised by how many businesses turned up,” Ms Badewitz said. 

“At the meeting it was discussed how the transport company were attempting to work with businesses to prevent disruption. 

“The time was picked so that it didn’t interrupt the busier times of traffic and school buses.

“I can understand that it going to be an inconvenience but my understanding is that they will be here for a five-to-ten minute 

window, one truck at a time.” 

The Imperial Hotel’s Virginia Webster was one of the few business owners that went to the meeting. 

“The meeting was good but to be truthful not a lot of businesses were there.” Mrs Webster said. 

“We did have an information sheet dropped off last week; overall I’m happy with how council has communicated to us.” 

Mrs Webster said she has mixed feelings about the Boco Rock Wind Farm. 

“I think it will be good for the town but I don’t think we will see any benefit just yet,” Mrs Webster said. 

“I think it will be a long term thing and we will have some better infrastructure in the town.” 

Bombala Shire Council Mayor Bob Stewart said every business in Bombala received a letter by hand inviting them to the meeting and that council was satisfied with the negotiations in relation to their use of the roads in the area.

Cr Stewart said he had advised Downer Group representatives that there was some concern from business houses regarding loss of parking spaces in the main street and that council would need to liaise with the business houses concerning the matter.

“From discussions at that council meeting, a community meeting was organised for 30 April 2013.  

“Business houses were advised of this by letter that was hand delivered to each business house. 

“I am also aware that council’s economic development officer advised a number of business houses about the meeting in person,” he said.

“At this meeting all the representatives of the business houses were supportive of council negotiating a way forward for the components to be transported from Eden,” he said. 

Council was still awaiting the timetable of truck movements however it was pleasing that a construction update had been recently circulated by CWP Renewables. 

CWP Renewables Head of Development Ed Mounsey said that the transport of the wind turbines is expected to start in April and the vehicles used to transport the components are specially designed to safely transport loads while minimising impacts to roads.

“We are working to minimise impacts to road users, and appreciate everyone’s patience during the transport phase,” he said.

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