Laurie Oakes has lent his support to the effort to relocate a proposed solar farm. Photo: Supplied
The doyen of the Canberra press gallery has lifted his eyes from Capital Hill to lend his support to the residents of Uriarra Village fighting to move the proposed solar farm.
Laurie Oakes, pictured, who moved to Canberra in 1969, has taken to social media to ask the ACT government to reject the proposal for a 40-hectare farm across the road from the rural hamlet.
The show of support comes as developer Elementus Energy prepares to lodge its development application for the site, having declared a switch would cost millions of dollars.
There's plenty of land nearby where it could be built.What' the justification? pic.twitter.com/kykOYoJ4M3— LaurieOakes (@LaurieOakes) February 10, 2014
The multiple Walkley Award-winner and Nine Network political editor has 84,000 Twitter followers.
A Red Hill resident, Oakes said he had a number of friends in the village, and there was no good reason why the solar farm could not be built in a different location.
''It's just ridiculous, and this idea that because it's solar power it is less offensive than any other industry is wrong,'' he said.
''I visit people there and I love the place - and for that reason I know where this thing's going to be,'' he said. ''It will really make it a less pleasant place for people to be.
''It's the thing about solar - you may need to build a coalmine where there's coal, but there's plenty of sun.''
In an email to community representatives in November, Elementus Energy managing director Ashleigh Antflick said discussions with Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell had led the company to conclude there was no apparent way for it to switch sites.
''It is obvious from those discussions and [the minister's public] comments that a clear and well-defined pathway which would enable Elementus Energy to consider moving the site does not exist,'' Mr Antflick said.
''…There would be considerable costs - several million dollars - involved.
''Therefore our approach to this proposal will remain constant.''
Mr Antflick said Elementus was integrating technical feedback from planning authorities before formally lodging its plans.
Mr Corbell said the company could propose a change to the site, but the government would have to be satisfied it would not result in increased electricity costs for ACT consumers.
''Any proposal to relocate would raise a range of financial, administrative and probity issues,'' he said.
Oakes said he went public without being asked by residents.