Energy Australia have confirmed they will proceed with investigations into the feasibility of a pumped hydro facility at Lake Lyell, following a bid from councillors to overturn the approval of nine boreholes.
The overturning of the approval for a development application (DA) for the boreholes to be constructed at the lake was lost at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday, August 1.
The meeting was held after councillors Stephen Lesslie, Cassandra Coleman and Eric Mahony sought to move a motion to rescind the approval of the DA following community feedback.
"As a community councillor, I pride myself on listening to the wider community," Cr Coleman said.
"I can not stand on a platform of 'your voice' and not listen to the community I represent, respect and love. My position is clear and it won't change. Credibility is everything, that is why I support the recision motion."
Members of the public raised their concerns about the environmental and tourism impacts the pumped hydro facility may have on Lake Lyell.
Resident and member of the Concerned Local Citizens group (CLC) Rob White said he is confused by the lack of reasoning provided by councillors who voted against of the motion to rescind the DA.
"Oddly, several councillors who voted against the proposal chose not to speak, and those that did provided terse comments that failed to address any of the issues raised by the public or other councillors," Mr White said.
"By accepting the first stage of this proposal, effectively this council is giving a green light to a proposal that will ultimately destroy an iconic mountain, a major tourist attraction and negatively impact the lives of many who reside in the proximity of the area."
Cr Lesslie commented on council's role in approval of the DA.
"Council staff had no choice but to deal with the DA as presented; that is the law. Councillors however have a responsibility to consider the implications, outcome and the consequences," Cr Lesslie said.
"The councillors who supported this project chose to be obtuse and they failed in their duty to the citizens of Lithgow."
Energy Australia have since released a statement indicating they are taking small steps of investigation into the proposed location and will continue seeking community feedback.
"The community has raised important matters such as amenity and design through this Development Application process," the statement read.
"We're also aware that some premature and inaccurate statements have been made as to what this project will or will not involve.
"At this point, we cannot share more than preliminary information as feasibility for the project has not been established. We are doing things one step at a time.
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