Moyne Shire Council voted to support a $145 million wind farm in Hawkesdale if no turbines were closer than 500 metres from adjoining property boundaries.
At yesterday’s meeting seven of the nine councillors backed a submission to the state planning minister that supported the Gamesa Energy wind farm but with a number of conditions.
Shire officers recommended access tracks be moved further from tracks used by adjoining landowners and that noise management and environmental management plans be carried out.
Cr Brenda Hampson led a move to have wind turbines moved to at least 500 metres from adjoining property boundaries.
“Everyone here is aware how passionate I am about wind farms but to not to the point of where they’re destroying lives,” Cr Hampson said.
She said objectors’ fears about the proximity of the towers would affect the existing residents, who deserved to be protected.
The suggested 500-metre buffer zone would force the relocation of six planned turbines.
Cr Hampson said she believed they could be realigned to appease nearby objectors.
“This wind farm will bring a lot of rate money (to the shire) and I appreciate that but I also appreciate the little bloke who pays rates as well,” she said.
Crs Frank Norton and Jim Doukas opposed the motion. Cr Norton suggested the recommendations would drive the wind farm developers away completely.
Cr Doukas described himself as someone “who hates wind farms with a passion”, despite seconding the motion.
“At least this is a step in the right direction,” Cr Doukas said.
Mayor Gerald Madden said a smaller buffer zone would limit the options of adjoining landowners and what they could do with their land.
“I believe it’s pointless to seek the submissions from the community if we’re not going to take notice of the issues they point out,” he said.
“The adjoining landowners’ views need to be recognised.”
By Matt Neal
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