What is Pioneer Park?

    Pioneer Park is the site of a former landfill facility (formerly the Dawson Park Landfill).  The Pioneer Park site is currently classified under the Act as a known or suspected contaminated site.

    Why is the development being proposed for Pioneer Park?

    At the November 2019 Ordinary Council Meeting, a report was provided regarding a pre-feasibility investigation into a solar farm with aims of reducing the City’s carbon footprint for its owned buildings and street lighting as well as potentially developing a future revenue source. The feasibility study quickly concluded the most viable location for a solar farm on land owned or controlled by the City (avoiding land procurement costs) was Pioneer Park in Forrestfield. Pioneer Park was identified as an ideal site for developing a solar farm because of it’s contaminated site restrictions, as it would mean utilising the space in a positive and impactful way to contribute to the City’s movement towards environmental sustainability.

    What is a solar farm?

    Solar farms are large scale solar installations where photovoltaic (PV) panels, referred to as solar panels, or other means of collecting solar energy, like concentrating solar systems are used to harvest the suns power. Solar farms are also known as solar parks and solar power stations. They operate as power plants, just like a natural gas power plant or other sources of energy generation that have generated electricity for consumers for the last century. (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com, 2019)A photovoltaic power station, also known as a solar park, solar farm, or solar power plant is a large-scale photovoltaic system (PV system) designed for the supply of merchant power into the electricity grid. They are differentiated from most building-mounted and other decentralised solar power applications because they supply power at the utility level, rather than to a local user or users. (Wikipedia, 2021)

    What benefits do solar farms provide?

    Renewable energy sources like solar power create no emissions that are harmful to human health and the environment. (Sciencing, 2017) Also, solar energy is considered and inexhaustible renewable resource.

    What is groundwater?

    Groundwater is derived from rain, which percolates down through the soil or fractures in rock, filling up the pores between sand grains or the fissures in rocks. Anything from none to half of the rainfall in a given area may reach the water table and thus recharge the groundwater.

    Approximately 40% of the water supplied to Perth comes from groundwater supplies. Groundwater comes from huge natural reservoirs called aquifers. [Source: Water Corporation, WA]

    How is a solar farm site selected?

    The land area required for a desired power output, varies depending on the location, and on the efficiency of the solar modules, the slope of the site and the type of mounting used. The best locations for solar parks in terms of land use are held to be brown field sites, or where there is no other valuable land use, as is the case with Pioneer Park. Photovoltaic power stations occupy at least one hectare for each megawatt of rated output, so require a substantial land area; which is subject to planning approval. Pioneer Park measures just over 53 hectares.

    Has a feasibility study been performed to determine if the Pioneer Park land is appropriate for use as a Solar Farm?

    The City of Kalamunda (‘Kalamunda’) engaged Enhar to review and expand upon the Pre-Feasibility Assessment (PFA) which analysed the opportunity for a medium-sized ground-mount solar-PV installation on a former landfill site, at Pioneer Park, Forrestfield, WA. Numerous assumptions had been used for the analysis. Changes in market and technology factors may lead to decreases in physical and financial performance and of the project, compared to the estimates contained in this report. This report was submitted to the City on 20 August 2020 and presented to council at the 13 October 2020 Public Agenda Briefing.

    What were the objectives of the feasibility study prepared by Enhar?

    The pre-feasibility assessment notes that proposed objectives of the solar farm project include: 

    • To offset all City of Kalamunda electricity greenhouse gas emissions
    • Lower energy costs for the City’s operations 
    • Potential for community energy savings 

    Revenue generation to contribute to the city’s financial sustainability

    How does groundwater become contaminated?

    There are a number of ways groundwater can become contaminated including, but not limited to:

    • spillage or leakage of contaminants on the ground surface infiltrating to the water table
    • leaking underground tanks or pipes
    • rainwater leaching through waste or
    • chemical fill, effluent disposal, leachate from landfill sites

    What factors influence the discharge of contaminants to groundwater?

    Again, there are many factors that can influence the release of contaminated water to groundwater including, but not limited to:

    • depth to groundwater
    • direction of groundwater flow
    • type of soil
    • flow rate of contaminated groundwater

    Is my groundwater safe?

    We can advise that samples taken from the former landfill site show low concentrations of materials within the groundwater and we do not expect to find higher levels in surrounding areas however we are proactively sampling private bores adjacent to the site to determine groundwater quality.

    What is in the groundwater?

    We have detected nutrients, metals and volatile organic compounds at levels that exceed the Department of Health’s Non-Potable Use Guidelines.

    I/my pets drink the groundwater, what should I do?

    The Department of Health advises groundwater should not be consumed without treatment and recommend this advice is applied to your pets.

    What will happen to the value of my land?

    The City is unable to provide land valuation feedback and suggest landowners contact a suitably qualified professionals for advice.

    How will this affect the land acquisition/development of the local area?

    Please contact our office on 9257 9999 and ask to speak with a member from our Environmental Health team.

    I am concerned and would like to have my groundwater sampled – what do I do?

    Please contact Cameron Chisholm, Coordinator Environmental Health Services on 9257 9937 or email Cameron.Chisholm@kalamunda.wa.gov.au with your name, address, contact phone number. To work out a sampling schedule it would be greatly appreciated if you could contact us as soon as possible. 

    Should you have any other queries regarding the quality or safety of the groundwater on your property please contact the City Heath Services on 9257 9999.