Council backs energy park


Hannah Hammoud

Brimbank council will move ahead with its vision for the Sunshine Energy Park (SEP) development, despite reports revealing the presence of Indigenous artefacts on site.

Less than three months ago council decided to scrap long-awaited upgrades to Green Gully Reserve after Indigenous artefacts were found at that site which could have potentially blown out the cost estimate of the project.

The decision to pull the plug on the Green Gully Reserve upgrades was made after council spent seven years and more than $2 million on the project.

At the council meeting on May 21, council adopted the final draft Sunshine Energy Park vision plan noting that it was “feasible” but would not be able to be funded by council alone.

Sitting in the chamber, it was deja vu for councillor Maria Kerr.

“My concerns are with what happened at Green Gully recently. I don’t want to find ourselves eight years into the planning process and spending $2 million worth of rate payers’ money. What kind of guarantees can you give that we’re not going to be in this situation at [Sunshine] Energy Park?” Cr Kerr asked.

Council officers said that while no guarantees could be made, due diligence would be carried out where required.

The Sunshine Energy Park encompasses council’s vision for a new major parkland destination next to the Sunshine CBD which includes large-scale tree planting, a possible solar farm location, cycling and walking tracks, sports fields and stadium, play spaces, a large urban forest and wetland system, and more.

The SEP is 54 hectares of closed landfill in Albion, which is part of the closed Sunshine landfills, and was a former basalt quarry. The site is bordered by Ballarat Road, St Albans Road, the Western Ring Road and Jones Creek.

Council said it will actively explore external funding opportunities for a staged implementation of the plan through grants, partnerships and business case development and it will consider funding for implementation in future budget processes.

Councillors Maria Kerr, Virginia Tachos, and Bruce Lancashire voted against adopting the plan, however were outnumbered by Crs Ranka Rasic, Jae Papalia, Sam David, Victoria Borg, Thuy Dang and Sarah Branton who successfully voted in favour of its adoption.