December 19, 2018
Construction of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm could fall behind schedule if a better way to transport turbine blades isn’t found soon.
A Community Consultation Committee meeting held at Cooranga North Hall last Thursday was told AGL still has to transport more than 350 turbine blades from the Port Of Brisbane to the wind farm site.
The company has to hire 14 police escorts for each blade; is currently limited to one blade per convoy; and has to negotiate with toll-road operator Transurban to use the Logan Motorway.
AGL’s senior manager for Government and Community Relations Clare Mildren told the meeting these complications threatened to affect the project’s construction schedule.
“Each turbine requires three blades, and we still have 120 turbines to put up,” she said.
“In Victoria, we didn’t require any police escorts and we could have three transport units in a convoy.
“This project will be good for Queensland, so I’m hopeful we can work with the State Government on a better way to tackle this problem.”
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The South Burnett and Western Downs Regional Councils will need to work together to find a site for viewing platform for the wind farm.
The platform would be used by tourists to see the wind farm when it’s completed in the second half of 2019.
The meeting was told AGL supported the idea of having a public viewing platform.
However, because it would be built on council-owned land, it was up to both councils to pick the location and make any necessary arrangements.
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Round 3 of the Coopers Gap Community Fund closed recently, and the following applications were successful:
- Bell Bunya Community Centre Association Inc.
- Jandowae Amateur Swimming Club Inc.
- Kumbia Race Club
- Kumbia Tennis Association
- Kumbia Kindergarten
- Cooranga North Memorial Hall Committee
- Kumbia and District Memorial School of Arts
- Jandowae and District Progress and Heritage Association
- Jandowae Business and Community Group
- Bell RSL Sub Branch
- Kumbia State School P&C Association
Applications for Round 4 of the grant program will open in March 2019.
The Community Fund targets a range of community needs including health, social welfare, safety, environment, education and youth, sport, recreation, culture, arts and economic development.
Applications are accepted from not-for-profit groups in the communities closest to the wind farm including Kumbia, Bell, Jandowae and Cooranga North.
Grant applications are assessed by a committee drawn from these communities.
Successful applicants to Round 4 will be notified towards the middle of 2019.
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Former rugby league footballer Darren Lockyer visited the wind farm site earlier this year to talk to workers about safety.
His visit was so successful AGL hopes to invite him back again next year for a repeat performance.
The meeting heard that Darren “really connected” with the wind farm’s construction crews, and AGL believed at least part of the project’s excellent work safety record was attributable to the talks he gave.
On his next visit, the company would also like to arrange for him to visit local schools and community groups as well.
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Underground cables to connect the wind farm’s turbines have been laid across 50 per cent of the Coopers Gap site, and the remainder should be laid within the next few months.
Landholders will be given instructions about how to recognise where cables have been laid and how to excavate near them safely early in the New Year.
The cables have been laid 750mm (about three feet) underground, and have been registered on the Dial Before You Dig website.
The wind farm’s site office can also advise about cable locations.
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There will be a substantial reduction of traffic along Niagara Road during the Christmas-New Year period when work crews take a short break.
After this, the pace will pick up again until late January or early February, when civil works on the site are expected to be completed.
Once this occurs, traffic along Niagara Road will reduce to near-normal levels again.
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The Coopers Gap Community Consultation Committee will hold four quarterly meetings in 2019.
They will be held at Cooranga North Hall on March 13, June 12, September 11 and December 12.
Members of the public are welcome to attend as observers, and the meetings are followed by an afternoon tea.
Most meetings begin at 1:00pm and run until 2:30pm.
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An update on Coopers Gap Wind Farm’s construction (Video: AGL)