One of Australia’s biggest wind farms looks set to be built on the Darling Downs after a bitter year-long battle for planning approval ended yesterday.
The $270 million project will see 75 wind turbines, each reaching as high as a 30-storey building, built along a ridge through the Crows Nest and Rosalie shires.
The developer, Allco Wind Energy, yesterday won conditional approval for the wind farm through a consent order from the Planning and Environment Court.
But local objectors, from the No Wind Farm group, vowed to pursue other avenues to stop the project.
Spokesman Jim Harper said residents feared the wind turbines would be a visual blight on the area. He said that was already having an impact on property values.
“This wind farm will be the most visible thing in the shire,” Mr Harper said.
“The whole thing has got everybody fully disillusioned and pretty angry. It’s a hurtful thing and this fight is absolutely not over.”
But Crows Nest Shire Mayor Geoff Patch said he believed most residents supported the project, although he acknowledged it had caused divisions in the local community.
The council’s chief executive, David McEvoy, said the wind farm would deliver many benefits to the community, with $100 million to be spent locally, 460 jobs created during the construction phase and 15 ongoing highly skilled positions.
“It will give a significant boost to our local economy and the environment,” he said.
Mr McEvoy also disputed claims from the No Wind Farm group that the turbines ““ with rotors reaching up to 99m high ““ would be ugly.
Instead, he predicted they would be a tourist attraction.
“I think the wind turbines will be quite awe-inspiring, really majestic,” Mr McEvoy said.
Allco estimates the wind farm will generate power to supply 47,000 homes or all of the Darling Downs, including Toowoomba.
By Melanie Christiansen
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