Boko Industrial Wind Utility Complex (Stage 2 maximising) aka Boco Rock
Points favouring such development:
-increased profits for shareholders; less machines generating more
energy and less infrastructure to maintain and making full use of
existing transmission grid facitilies
-annual `royalties' for owners of rural holdings with industrial
sized, power mining machines placed on them
-as the agreed local communities funding is based on a per tower rate;
and there would be a 37% decrease in towers; such savings can be
channeled elsewhere by CWP.
-sustains the ongoing belief that `clean power' is being provided for
the power users in highly urbanized areas at no cost to the
-sustains the belief that the industrialisation and use of local
infrastructure, land and other community assets present before the
industrialisation of the landscape are now a benefit to all!
-a greater understanding of the flora, fauna and general ecological
structures present in the Boco locality has been gained, so too,
though to a lesser degree, has there been understanding of the
previous land use and habitation by the nations of the Indigenous
-potential for opportunities to work with the local community as the
third wave of major industrial complexes, after The Snowy Mountains
Engineering Scheme (SMEC) and the timber industry, to make use of the
Monaro region's land and resources.
Points negating such development:
-like the shareholder dividends which have little or no impact on this
economically struggling region, CWP desires to maximise its power
mining yet there is no increased benefit to the community as a whole
-there has already been an increase in `absentee' owners of farms with
power mining agreements with CWP; farms that were once owned and
managed by those who lived on site, now have managers installed, one
can rightly assume that as the funds pour in annually to those
`landlords' the incentive to productively farm the land will be
lessened yet the resale value of the `farm' is girded up by the power
industry that sits on it!
-It will be troubling for the surrounding community to see large
tracts of the Monaro become factory slums, devoid of active people who
own and seek to be primary producers rather than wait out their
investment portfolio's maturation! Since all complicit land holders
have had to sign a gag or confidentiality agreement with CWP, we are
left to guess just what industrial WHS reasons have stopped landowners
from residing on their properties.
-It is also worthwhile noting that in other recent power mining
ventures those willing to sign up to such gag agreements are often
either new landholders in the rural communities they inhabit, with
little connection to other locals and little shared history of place
and country, or approaching retirement with no family members to take
on the farm.
-it is disingenuous to not seek to compensate the local community on a
per kilowatt increase of the proposed changes (Stage 2 maximising),
rather than a tower decrease of 37% equating to a similar decrease in
community funding. I would suggest a considerable proportion of
savings made should be tagged (not gagged) for improving the acute and
chronic health morbidity outcomes for this region of NSW, which for 40
years at least have been the second worst in NSW as a whole!
-find a struggling rural community (economic, mental and physical
health challenges, rural isolation, etc) offer a cash cow to
landholders with a suitable mining site and hold them in thrall with a
gag agreement, all the while saying we are `clean'; perhaps the NIMBY
city folk will believe this but, you see, this is our backyard! Sure,
we don't own the view, but we chose to come here because of this and
other unique features the Monaro has to offer.
-to belittle us with fashionable rhetoric and ill-conceived promises
and then foist a swiveling, gyrating industrial complex that generates
infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) that even the NSW 2016
guidelines for wind tower noise have yet to catch up with is an
audacious piece of landscape and social engineering.
-the proposed machines will be 200m tall, base to topmost rotor tip,
just taller than Black Mountain's `Telestra Tower' in Canberra; or for
a closer, local example If you stand at the Nanny Goat Hill Lookout in
the midst of Cooma and gaze westward you will see the peak of Mt
Gladstone, some 4 km away, standing 204 meters higher; even then it is
difficult to imagine a 66 story building that moves! That's how tall
they are and that's what these machines are designed to do, to move
and extract a valuable power commodity for a consumer market
comfortable in the knowledge it is enjoying this `clean' energy,
willingly given from the Monaro and the country bumpkins that live
under these things!
-incidentally, just over 50 years ago there were concerted efforts by
the then Cooma Council/SMEC to totally remove the sandstone outcrop
known as Nanny Goat Hill and sell it as runway fill to Mascot Airport,
Sydney; seemed like a good idea at the time, luckily locals
protested!! Don't be fooled, they had the technology and perhaps the
best collection of engineering `can do' equipment and brains in the
world at the time, all trained and tested in developing the Snowy
Scheme, and yet, and yet.. sanity prevailed! Bigger ideas DON'T mean
better ideas, and riding roughshod over the local community will
generate no credible triple bottom line .. and that is something
investors are looking for!
And now to important issues:
-there had been little or no engagement with the Ngarigo people, the
traditional custodians of the Monaro lands during the implementation
of Stage 1 of the Boco industry. The Yuin and possibly other
Indiginious people from the coast were, in part, consulted, and this I
suppose is an historical backflip for the last encampment of Ngarigo
at Delegate in 1920 were moved down to `relatives' living on and
around the Wallaga lakes near coastal Bermagui. This `forced
`relocation fractured an already stressed though resilient Ngarigo
-there is now no excuse to bypass the Ngarigo people, they are here on
the Monaro, and they are active in finding and identifying important
sites and paths that criss-crossed the plains and mountains here. They
are proud of their ongoing heritage and keen to engage at all levels
of community involvement. Why have you so poorly sought after these
folk and not sat down with the first owners and managers of this fair
land? Why? Admittedly there has, on the Monaro been a belief, even
agreed to by such anthropologists as the late John Mulvaney, professor
of pre-history at ANU, that the Monaro plains were only habituated
during the calmer, warmer seasons, when food was aplenty, and tribes
gathered from 100's of km away to share the bounty; the Bogong Moth
gatherings are such events. Recently this `vacated country' myth has
been shattered, with the finding by archaeologists of unique tools at
mountain encampment sites that point to permanent habitation of the
Monaro. Do not allow your cavalier treatment of the local community to
be seen as something worse! You have left the important things undone
and have acted as industrialists often do; this power you seek may
well have gone to your head!
-the vigor and swiftness with which you established the Boco (Stage 1)
environmental surveys, needed to be continued; don't let the good
actions die in the water. My reflexive question to you is; What
provisions have you made to remedy the shortfalls with the ecological
fieldwork and environmental monitoring program you had with the Stage
1 project? Or to put it another way: Tell us how you will do it better
now?... and then do it! 30m trees reported on recent (Stage 2) tower
diagrams `for a size comparison' is laughable; do you really desire to
properly engage the community..the onus of proof falls down again and
again at your collective feet!
-in the last of the `Points favouring such development' I mentioned
three waves of industrialization that have swept the Monaro. The SMEC,
the timber industry and now the developing Industrial Wind Utility
Complexes you desire to continue to build; bigger and bigger it seems!
The most outstandingly successful was the SMEC, there will always be a
romantic element to forging a daring water harvesting scheme with the
long and generious help, of all those who participated. The WW2 had
left Europe in ashes, the Marshall Plan had made new life possible and
this country put on the best work scheme for the flood of skilled and
unskilled immigrants, that came to Cooma and beyond. It was hard,
cutting edge work and dangerious too, a man died for every million
pounds spent, unacceptable odds in today's Australia! For Cooma it was
a boom time, materially, culturally, intellectually and socially! The
town grew and absorbed many who only came to work but stayed on to
live in the cold part of Australia. Now as the decades have past those
glory days are gone, a vacuum is in its place as the region struggles
to find a new face, that face may well be tourism, not just of the
snow capped alps and engineering marvels, but broad horizons,
brilliant sunsets, misty still mornings, places where the mobile phone
won't download the lastest blingflick and `dare I say it' where every
hill is not covered in machinery; very large machinery!!
The second wave of industrialization began after WW2 with the
development of broad acre monoculture planting of Pinus radiata; the
twisted Monterey Pine from California, USA grew straight and big and
quickly too in our stubborn rocky soils. It was a versatile and easily
millable timber, safer to fell and easier to load than the larger
heavier `hardwood' natives. There are at least 4 industrial
incarnations of this softwood industry, plus one that logs hardwood
Kapunda was the first such large logging company I vaguely remember, a
major shareholder was the Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos, a cross
between Christopher Skase and Colonel Gadhafi; a swindler tyrant in
his own country but he knew a good feed trough when he saw one. The
timber industry was heavily subsidized then just as it is well
favoured now by get ahead politicians! Just what happened to Kapunda I
don't know, Marcos was deposed in 1981 and fled to Hawaii, dying there
The next Company to pop up is Harris Daishawa, a Japanese owned wood
chip exporter that favours hardwoods for paper making. The Eden based
wood chip mill is their monument, sitting just next to the navy's
rearmament wharf in SE Twofold Bay. We subsidized the removal of the
chips then bought it back as paper.... go figure! They are quite
successful in what they do, though their activities continue to draw
protests from the conservation movements. You may own shares in this
Limited Liability Company, good luck!
The next incarnation of industrial timber fun were those `managed
investment schemes' developed by changes in the tax laws which allowed
tax breaks to folk who invested in MIS's. Arable land from cash
strapped Monaro farmers was purchased, then first fences, stock
troughs and pastures were cleared and pine trees planted; fortunes
were promised over the 30 year growth of the product. Willmont (2013)
and TimberCorp (2017) are two noticeable casualities to go under when
their schemes 'blew up', many suffered loss, particularily those on
the ground, seeing once useful farmland poisoned by an allelopathic
monoculture then denuded, eroded and eventually infested with weeds
and ferals. In short it went bad! Bad for the investors, bad for the
preyed upon farm communities, bad for the physical and mental health
of all involved, both participants and onlookers.
In 1996 Dongwha Timbers, a private company started up outside Bombala,
milling pine and value adding it on site to be transported to major
building growth centres in SE Australia. They employ locals and seem
to be moving ahead, though they did attract a $15,000 fine for
breaching their approval conditions in 2016, the highest fine the Dept
of Planning & Environment could issue.... will it make it? Lots of
Bombala families hope so!
My family and I run a local business here in Nimmitabel, we have
catered for many workers servicing the Boco machinery and get on very
well with them. Recently, after a request from one of the CWP
sub-contractors we outlaid a considerable amount of time, energy,
travel and funds to honour that same request. It was the end of the
October long weekend and we were then contacted by the same folk who
had entered into the agreement with us, that they would have to
terminate our association as the workers had to be moved elsewhere.
These workers travel globally so we imagined exotic locations beyond
our shores. The workers too had been told to move their custom but
they were none too happy about it , there move was not overseas but TO
COOMA!!. For you see as the ski season was now officially over it was
cheaper for the sub-contractor to send them there. Of course the irony
of the situation was these workers had to now travel 75km more each
day and their heavy service vehicles chew a lot of diesel so I doubt
any savings (of the triple bottom line type) were made.
This has happened more than once and similar incidents have occurred
with other local businesses who, in goodwill, seek to engage and
benefit the visitors to our community. It seems the very trust you
seek is the very thing you destroy. What a clumsy and heavy-handed
industry you represent. To allow you to `play machines' in our
backyard, at the present time, would hint at an abusive relationship!
So; congratulations; here you are, you are not the first big private
organisation to turn up, say "rollover" and have us do your bidding
but we may possibly; just possibly have learnt a thing or two from the
history we have partaken in and endured.
It has been said it is better to light a candle than curse the
darkness!! Have you considered adding solar arrays around your already
existing Boco machinery? Monaro's high albedo and low maximum
temperatures are ideal for power generation. If planned well they
could provide shade and stock shelter for the stock that graze around
them, as well as water from the panel run off. Vegetable greenhouses
on the Monaro......Oh the things you could do; but that would be
outside the off-the-shelf installations you propose! That, like SMEC,
would require true leadership and genius, true community
involvement.... . . . . . .
You have probably been asked enough questions, my next ones will be
directed to our state politicians who are quite instrumental is
getting these `new' schemes off the ground. There is an election just
around the corner and people are looking at what is happening in our
Monaro region and asking themselves "what's going on?" and "who's
telling the truth?"
(Allan) Grant Walker,
Born at Bombala,
Grew up on my parents farm on the SE edge of these Monaro tablelands.
A keen listener who sat and heard much about the local communities
joys and sorrows, some of which I have related to you today.
Obtained my Bachelor of Environmental Science degree in 1986, and my
Grad Diploma of Education (Science) in 1987.
Taught secondary science in a disadvantaged state school in a regional
city for 15 years.
A parent (with my wife) to 8 wonderful children who seek to make a
difference in this `brave new world that has such people in it'!
I have returned to the `board horizons' of the Monaro; living, at
first on Brown Mountain for 10 years then investing in the Nimmitabel
area, just as you have begun to do!
Comments on attached photos.
As I could not find any photo montages of the Boco machines when
viewed from prominent Nimmitabel township views, I took it upon myself
to draft some up myself!
Lake Williams WSW view: Lake Williams in lower left @ 1080m. horizon
approx 4km @ 1100m, 200m higher turbines begin @ approx 6km & would
obscure 2x to 4x the horizon tree heights in gap between pines. The
position of the drawn curve approximates the blade position on the
Geldmacher Mill WSW view: a wider angle view of the WSW horizon, with
the Mill wall on the right. Elevation 1065m. the square, standalone
post is part of the tourist information guide that runs around the
town of Nmmitabel. Low cloud, possibly 1600 to 1800m ASL, covers the
southern NSW section of the Great Dividing Range that would be visable
on a clear day. Unfortunately with 200m tall machines whirring away in
the foreground not much will be seen of the 100km plus view! In winter
much of this alpine horizon is snow capped. The black lined rectangle
shows the approximate position of desired machine blades, the
horizontal line running through this rectangle marks the 1100m height
of the right side of "Square Range", the flat topped hill that
dominated the left part of the skyline. As the 200m tall machines are
to the right and also 2 to 5km behind "Square Range" on land from 1060
to 1100m it is reasonable to assume they will present a constant
signal to all who turn that direction !
StAndrews WSW view: taken from the front of the StJosephs Convent ,
across the oad from St Andrews Catholic Church. Elevation 1080m.
The white line marks the top of Bald Hill,elevation 1054m, on the far
right of the skyline, it is partially obscured by a pine. Bald Hill is
14.5 km away due west. The height of this hill is about the lowest
height for the machine placements at Yandra valley, which is half that
distance away behind the low (1100m) ridge of trees from centre to
The red line marks the highest point 1173m on Square Range on the far
left. The trig point there is called Nimmitabel.
The black line marks the possible machine blade heights, a
considerable proportion of the skyline from centre to left soon may
well be industrial landscape!
The sign post in the foreground, behind the seating, is another
tourist information sign in Nimmitabel.
The conical rooftop of the Geldmacher Mill can be clearly be seen
centre right, just below the horizon. It is of interest to note in the
current discussion that Geldmacher, the mills builder, was ordered to
remove the sails as the shadows they threw onto the through road
frightened the horses! What do we now a century later hope to see in
this direction, will it be 25 years before these sordid sails are
removed, worn out and redundant?
Library van view: our regional mobile library, parked today, Dec 13th
2018, in the main street of Nimmitabel, the aptly named Bombala St.
The side of the van displays iconic Monaro and Namadgi* landscape
images of what is appreciated and valued. This, to my thinking, has to
be one of the more thoughtful civic works of art in the area. Just how
much power, steam, clean, mean or green, do we need to quest after
knowledge and gain perhaps wisdom?
*Namadgi is a Ngarago word for the highest snow covered peaks.