by John Heffernan
Last Thursday (June 22) I went to the Walcha Bowling Club for EnergyCo’s two information sessions about the Grid infrastructure, transmission lines and energy hubs proposed for our Renewable Energy Zone. It was as dry as drought and pretty well filled the whole day, but I was really glad I went because those sessions drove home to me a few things that I reckon Walcha community sorely needs to take on board.
First off, the sessions were a whacking wake-up call to what massive nightmares could well be heading our way through a bevy of turbines, solar panels, grid giants, power lines and hub grubs, a horde of mechanical monster that will smother Walcha in decades of horror (environmental, social, economic and more) obliterating any claim we might have once had to being an agricultural wonderland.
Secondly I soon realised that I wasn’t the only person in that room who was concerned about these approaching nightmares. Far from it. Indeed, I soon became aware that most people attending the sessions were against the Grid expansion proposed by EnergyCo. I reckon a majority at both sessions saw what they considered an unacceptably grim situation in this proposed grid invasion of our community. And I am not fabricating one bit when I say that many people at both sessions asked me almost the same identical question: How on Earth do we stop this thing?
Our mighty little community has made a truly valiant efforts in fighting the tsunami of turbine attacks hurled at us over the years, along with misinformation and shameless double dealing behind our backs. But this Grid Thing is something else entirely – a government-based attack that many feel can’t be stopped, some even consider a kind of fait accompli.
Well let me tell you, Walcha, that this is not the case. This does not have to be a done deal, not if we’re prepared to stand up and make it patently clear to the government that we definitely do not want this monster in our midst. After badgering the team of young EnergyCo officials at those two meeting, the unmistakable message I left with was that we must make our objections clearly understood, and drive them home hard.
One sure way to do this is to make EnergyCo aware that the massive renewable energy claims of Walcha Energy (with Winterbourne Wind and Ruby Hills et al and their threatened 560 turbines) are barely more than the machinations of misinformation and myth. They certainly do not possess social licence nor indeed any rightful place in Walcha, and therefore cannot be claimed to justify any re-routing of transmission lines through our district.
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