30 April 2008

canberravotes.com - Tuggy Power Station meeting

| Joe Canberran
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In what appears to be it’s first real post (id#3 but it seems to be the only one up at the moment) the new Canberra website, canberravotes.com, a site that intends to “attempt to document (on the public record) issues of concern to the community in the lead up to the ACT Election in 2008”, has posted video footage (here) of “the Tuggeranong Community Council held a special public meeting to discuss the proposed development of a Major Utility Installation and Communications Facility at Block 1671 Tuggeranong District (Mugga Lane, Opposite the Mugga Landfill site). The project proposed ActewAGL, Technical Real Estate and Galileo Connect” held two days ago on April 28. The footage is of the first half hour of the meeting so I suspect it’s only for the really keen but I’m interested in the concept.

The site also states: “As this site evolves, commenting will be enabled. However unlike most other blog sites which allow anonymous commenting, all registered commenters on the site will need to be verified and will be identified by name and suburb when they lodge a comment. The rationale behind this is that opinions are important, but individuals must be prepared to stand on the public record behind the opinions they have expressed.”

The flamewars and vitriol of RiotACT to much for them perhaps?

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Everyone how disagrees with the power plant are ignorant because gas power plants are amongst the cleanest fossil fuels available the power plant turbines are very similar to those found on jets but use gas instead on harmful Jet A fuels.

I live in Theodore which is 3km away from the site.

There are 3 fundamental issues with this power station and data centre.
1. Noise
2. Air quality
3. Property values
The key to this whole problem is the total incompetence of the ACT planning authority. How is it that I get notification that a neighbour is increasing his deck size by a few feet but they neglect to tell us that a massive power station and data centre is proposed 600m away.
The info provide by ACTEWAGL in the DA (available by poring over the ACTPLA website for an extended period) indicates that modeling of the noise produces a level about 1db below the allowable urban limit. How can modeling be that accurate. It can’t and there is a disclaimer to that effect. The air quality issue arises because the modeling of the emissions is based on wind data from the Canberra Airport and it’s well known that wind and temperature varies enormously from the Airport to other areas in Canberra. At the meetings, ACTEWAGL have been saying that the prevailing winds will not take fumes toward Macarthur but as we already get odour from the Mugga Lane landfill, it sort of suggests that winds WILL bring fumes to Macarthur. Especially as the exhaust stacks (35mtrs high) expel very close to the level of the houses along Jackie Howe Crescent.
At no time has there been any indication as to what air and noise monitoring will take place IN the Macarthur area. Just that some monitoring will take place at the site.
Also, the noise level from the site will at a level that requires a 10mtr acoustic barrier at a building located closer to the power station.

Property values only matter to the small percentage of people planning to sell up soon.

Most people are concerned about the noise and polluted air because they are/were planning to stay there for a long time to come.

I don’t live anywhere near there, and I’m concerned because this govt seems to do what they live, and whatever developers want, at the expense of residents. Pick on macarthur now, but your suburb could be next for their next hare-brained scheme.

Oh and by the way zig, if you’re a public servant like many people in Canberra, I don’t think spouting your extremist views by posting throughout the working day on this forum are an efficient or effective use of public monies.

Lets face it the only reason why there is soo much concern on this development is the impact on property values in the area surrounding. Health concerns, closeness yada yada, this real reason so many people oppose it is because the value of their houses is sure to fall.

It is just unfortunate, development has to happen somewhere, why not here?

Yeah seems that way Spidey.

LOL Woody, thanks for the laugh at your diatribe/whinge. You must have a mighty e-penis.

At the end of the day there is no point arguing with keyboard commandos like Woody on the internet.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that the power plant just doesn’t belong so close to homes? A few more kilometres east/south east and it will be in Hume.

Spideydog said :

Can any of you people that are happy for it to be placed at/near Macarthur, please tell us why? Why would you support something that could be placed somewhere in an “real” industrial area and not upset anyone (well, almost no one)

I’m not saying you are wrong, I was interested in the opinions?

Nobody wishes to field this one ????

Actually, I’d be interested why too. This has come up a few times in the past, a group of people who are to be adversley affected by something speak up about it, and people who aren’t affected become quite excited and want the thing to go ahead. Even when there’s plenty of alternatives. I don’t get it.

Can any of you people that are happy for it to be placed at/near Macarthur, please tell us why? Why would you support something that could be placed somewhere in an “real” industrial area and not upset anyone (well, almost no one)

I’m not saying you are wrong, I was interested in the opinions?

Nicely articulated

Woody Mann-Caruso2:50 pm 02 May 08

Care to explain?

Sure. You automatically characterised a person who disagreed with you – well, let’s be more accurate here, a person who posted a silly parody – as wealthy, and somehow unqualified to comment because you imagine them living away from the station (as I understand you do).

In doing so, you adopted a number of extreme positions, including that:

– people who support the plant are ‘ridiculous’; and
– that Yarralumla is peopled by elitists and parasites.

These views have no foundation in reality, are stated as absolute and axiomatic truths, and were espoused to further a political or philosophical viewpoint. Therefore, you are an extremist: one who is disposed to go to the extreme, or who holds extreme opinions, a person who has a tendency to be extreme, or a disposition to go to extremes.

Or perhaps you think you need to be wearing a burka and carrying an AK47 to be an extremist? But of course you don’t – you just need have a mindless zeal, a talent for spewing dogma, the ability TO USE THE CAPS LOCK KEY, a propensity for saying things like “I’m no expert, but…” and a mindset that lets you insist that things hundreds of metres apart and on opposite sides of a hill are “right next to” each other.

Natural gas… if I’m not mistaken it is the same stuff we cook with and the stuff they are using in Action buses now to reduce the emmissions from burning petrol or diesal.

I reiterate, if they put it 600m from my house, nobody but the hippies down at Strathnairn would hear it, and they’re all… well, not listening anyway…


Happy Zig et-al ?


Extremist? How are my views extremist? Care to explain?

The power plant is clearly needed and the co-location of the data centre makes sense.

I am not against the power plant itself just it’s location!

I’ll say it again just so your thick head can fathom what I am saying.


It belongs in an industrial zone. Geeze it seems you are just out to fan the flames with that ridiculous power ranger song(yes it was mildly amusing).

Woody Mann-Caruso12:06 pm 02 May 08

Oh, for sure. I mean, I disagree with your extremist, ill-informed views, so I must live far away from the power station site and be fabulously wealthy.

Or I could live in one of the suburbs adjacent to Macarthur, think that something that can provide baseload power and is cleaner than coal is a good idea even if it’s not perfect, and know enough about physics and chemistry to know spastic scaremongering when I see it.

haha Woody.

You must be one of those urban elitist parasites from Yarralumla.

Woody Mann-Caruso10:09 am 02 May 08

./~ Go go, Power Station!
Mighty Macarthur Power Station!
Stronger than before!
Powered up for more!
Macarthur at the core!
Shift into turbo!
Mighty engines roar!
Turbo charged for more!
NO2 for all!

I think it’s ridiculous that people are in favour of this site for the power plant.

It’s obvious that they don’t live in Macarthur.

I wonder if their attitude would be different if the power plant was going to be 600 metres from their homes.

Noise Levels: The worst effected residents (not the treatment facility) at Macarthur will recieve around 32dbA of noise at their boundaries. That is like placing a Fujitsu airconditioner outdoor unit like the AST7LMACW around 2 metres from the boundary. That drone will occur all night.

josephbloggsjr8:11 am 02 May 08

As I was having difficulty finding all the information & “facts” I needed about this power station, I put up links to all the important documentation at:


Hope this helps.

Oh I should ask anyone know where Hargreaves lives? Not listed. Would like to see a few Falun Gong like protesters set-up camp outside his home, blasting through a speaker in the quiet of the night the sort of noise levels (scientifically calibrated) that would be heard by the affected residents of Macarrthur.

Spideydog said :

People probably have

Well – in my book, if something the people oppose goes ahead anyway, then the people didn’t oppose it enough.

Possibly a bit dramatic, but comes to mind having heard this quote in a song a few times lately:

“And it’s then that you must throw your body on the gears, and on the levers, and on the machine itself, and make it stop! And you have to show the people who run it, the people who control it, that unless we’re free, that machine will be prevented from working at all!”

Why not locate it on Dairy Flat road next to the open-air sewerage ponds?

Pandy: What’s the significance of Outrim Ave? (second mention of it). Something to do with one of the ‘decision makers’ in this?

People probably have…but there is nothing wrong with having a good discussion (or complain) about it here ??

Well – it’s great complaining about it here on The RiotACT … but sorry to break it to you; the local government doesn’t read The RiotACT – so how about you all go complain to the people who need to hear you 🙂

Following on from Ant’s comments.

Just who the hell decided on this location? Why not immediately to the north of Hume towards the border? Why not the old Koppers log site? Why not the old pine mill site? Why not across the road from the gaol? Why not down the Monaro towards Williamsdale?

Why are the public not privy to the decision making process, and unable to provide input.

Can any member of the Gov explain?

I’m truly puzzled as to why they’ve even done this. Why not have in the Hume industrial area? They must, surely, have some kind of reason for putting it so close to dwellings?

sigh. nearer to the substation.
but yeah place it on the the old sawmill site at least

Whatever the effects from local pollution, noise etc,( of course they are important points, but putting those aside for a second) To me, it just doesn’t make sense to have a powerplant so close to residential homes when there is plenty of good “real” industrial area elsewhere. There are more suitable locations surely ???

What is the benefit of putting it there, as opposed to the other side of Hume?

Yes I have a gas heater at home. Yes the fumes are exhausted via a stack above the roofline.

Comparing a domestic gas heater to several gas turbines designed to help power a CITY is irrelevant.

No matter how you look at it, it’s a bad idea to put a power plant next to houses when there is plenty of available land elsewhere in industrial or rural zones. This country is full of wide open spaces. Why did ACTPLA only suggest 3 sites to ACTEWAGL? ACTEWAGL aren’t really to blame here, they operating within the guidelines set by ACTPLA. There is a fundamental problem with the decisions that are being made by ACTPLA.

Like I said before stick it 600 metres from homes in Yarralumla and see what happens. I think Macarthur residents are completely entitled to be upset.

Zig, do you have a gas heater at your home? If so what fumes come out of it? I bet the fumes ALREADY coming from the tip are more dangerous.

Bottom line burning gas is very efficent and hardly any fumes come out. You will find the bulk of the stacks (as is the case with all power stations) will be for the release of clean STEAM.

And if you are planning a gas plant to operate within the regulations, shouldn’t you allow yourself a buffer. It seems that this plant is ‘planned/expected’ to meet the exact top level of fumes allowed. Not much margin for error there.

And occasionally these pollution limits are adjusted downwards, as science understands more about our health – what happens to this plant then?

Yay, me and ant agree on something 😉

Good points, Zig. You have to wonder, what on earth were they thinking?

I believe the rules and the choice of locations by ACTPLA are flawed. Simple as that. Evidence, well there isn’t any(yet) apart from the fact that the ACT Government clearly hasn’t had to deal with projects of this nature before.

I am no expert in these matters, however it is pretty obvious that it is a STUPID idea to put a gas power plant that close next to people’s homes.

Why don’t they put it in Hume (the real Hume) which is classed as industrial. That’s where it belongs, not adjacent to houses in broadacre zoning. Broadacre is put between industrial areas and residentials areas to provide a buffer from the industrial noise generated by industrial activity.

In order to be able to answer the question “Is this a suitable place to put a power plant / dragway / airport / …”, in a consistent and logical way, we’ve established evidence-based rules (like “No more than X db of noise”, or “No more than Y ppm of NO2”). The alternative is “Hmm, sounds OK, do it”, or “Nah, sounds bad, don’t do it”, which is not a fair way to run public administration.

Now if you still think that after applying those rules, the power plant site is still going to result in unacceptable levels of pollution, then either you think those rules haven’t been applied correctly, or else the rules were formulated poorly. Which is it? What’s your evidence?

captainwhorebags3:30 pm 01 May 08

zig: do you know what the fumes that are being released are, the quantity being released and the recommended maximum exposure to the fumes?

I used to live at the top end of Macarthur (Goldsbrough Close) and we couldn’t see the tip or over the ridge at all. It’s a significant hill between the suburb and the paddock. More investigation is needed, sure, but this NIMBY attitude pisses me off. (Well, more accurately: BANANA)

The conduct of the residents at that meeting was disgusting. They weren’t interested in a presentation or discussion, just open hostility.


Ok lets connect a car’s exhaust fumes to your house and we’ll lower the level of fumes to within acceptable guidelines. It’s ok as long as the level of exhaust meets acceptable guidelines written by some “expert” according to you. 😛

The residents at Macarthur bought their houses without a power plant being on their back doorstep. Now they are getting lumped with it and the exhaust fumes to boot.

It just doesn’t make sense to put the power plant next to residences. It belongs in an industrial area not in an area zoned for broadacre. Location is the issue. Not the power plant itself.

This is why there’s environmental guidelines on the maximum concentration of pollutants allowed. If it meets the guidelines (and it really doesn’t matter if it meets them by 1% or 20%, there should be a large safety margin built into the guidelines), then it seems to me that you must think the guidelines are set too high. What’s the basis for this claim?

Would you want huge gas turbine engines pumping out fumes about 600 metres from your house?

The height of the exhaust stacks (36 metres) is roughly equal to the level of the land at Macarthur which delivers the fumes directly at ground level to houses (depending on wind direction).

Who in their right mind would want to be breating those fumes 24×7?

I don’t live in Macarthur but I can understand why they are pissed off.

This is an ACT planning issue and a clear indication that there is a problem with ACT planning, if this was one of the only sites they could recommend for the gas turbine plant.

There’s a reasonably significant hill between the proposed plant and the houses on Jackie Howe Cr isn’t there? It’s a while since I’ve been down that way so I may be wrong. You certainly can’t see houses from Mugga Lane.

Snahons_scv6_berlina10:58 am 01 May 08

why not put it in mitchell next to the new juvie centre ? – oh thats rights, we can’t do that, it would undoubted impede on their state-of-the-art facilities and services.

There’s already a small scale power plant running on methane collected from the tip face. You can see it from Mugga Lane (it’s about the size of a medium-sized shed).

No JC. Not enough PJ in the tip to run the plant. And it will be seen by people in Macarthur and Gilmore: but not by residents living in Outrim Avenue, Calwell

Bloody idiots. Isn’t the plan with the power station to take a lot of it’s fuel from the methane that is already spewing out of the tip. If so it is better for the enviroment to burn it and turn it into something useful. As for asthetics, who cares. It is in an industrial area and won’t be seen from anyone in Tuggeranong except when they drive along the Monaro Highway.

Yeah pretty stupid place to put a power plant, right next to houses.

How about Fyshwick, next to the gaol or actually in the real Hume not “ActewAGL Hume”?

If we are going to demolish suburbs perhaps we should start with the oldest suburbs?

Lets demolish Griffith, lots of old houses and old people there.

I vote we demolish Macarthur and build it there. But then that would upset people living in Fadden and probably Chisholm and Gilmore. Can we build it in Queanbeyan?! that would only upset nswpeople.

I propose that the power plant gets built next door to Yarralumla.

There is a big block of vacant land next to the old Canberra brickworks and the Governer Generals residence.

Jonathon Reynolds!!!!!! Fails to impress the Liberals with his turncoat policies and decides to place a blog of his own. No doubt will be running as an independant.

Has the same method of operation for his ACT Light Rail website.

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