Solar farm tabled following remediation of toxic Sunshine Energy Park


Max Hatzoglou

Brimbank councillors endorsed a notice of motion raised by Cr Bruce Lancashire calling for a report on the development of the draft Sunshine Energy Park concept plan.

The 44 hectares of vacant land was previously a basalt quarry and landfill site.

Council is now undertaking remediation works to clean up significant toxic waste with the site to regenrate the site as a key public and open space asset.

Cr Bruce Lancashire suggested the site to have a solar farm introduced which would help with climate change once the land was remediated appropreately.

“Despite all this [contamination], I believe this park can help council with its climate change emergency policy and council’s urban forest policy.

“It is suggested to achieve this that we look at two strategies, a short term and a long term [strategy].

“And in the short term it is suggested you might look at things like a solar farm and the remainder of the site being planted with native grasses and native trees which would help with the heat island effect in Sunshine.

Cr Lancashire suggested that neighbouring areas could also be used as a mixed use site.

“In terms of the long term strategy, I think we should look at the land between energy park and the residential land towards the south of Ballarat road as a possible mixed use site,” he said.

“I believe in the long term this is actually a really exciting proposal.

“As a mixed use site, this would be an excellent development and we would suggest that this could be a joint activity with strategic planning and economic development.

“This land does present itself with exciting opportunities, not just for what can be developed there but also for what could provide access through for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.”

Cr Virginia Tachos said it would be a good opportunity to increase tree canopy at the site.

“I echo the thoughts of the solar farm but really believe it should be a place where we should increase our canopy because our canopy as we know is 5.5 per cent which is the lowest in the state.

“I think when we did go on the tour as councilors to this site, we were really amazed at how large and how imposing and how central it is to our community,” she said.

“It’s always been an off-bounds place for us because of the toxicity but to actually be able to walk on it and see the dimensions of it was quite amazing.”