Plans for an $85 million wind farm for Woolsthorpe have failed to gain support from Moyne Shire council.
Councillors feared the site would be overcrowded with turbines which were too close to the neighbour’s property boundaries.
The council has no power to reject the project but will forward a submission to the Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden. Mr Madden will convene an expert panel to make recommendations before he makes the ultimate decision.
Wind Farm Developments project manager Jonathan Upson, who is proposing the 20-wind turbines across 750ha on the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road, did not return The Standard’s calls last night. Councillors at a planning meeting in Mortlake yesterday overturned the officer’s recommendation to support the project with requests to move turbines away from neighbours’ property boundaries.
The plans include three turbines situated 60m from neighbours property boundaries.
The project, if approved, would generate $76,000 in rates annually for the council.
Moyne planning director Greg Anders said the council had requested other projects be set back three times the turbines’ height.
He suggested the council’s rejection would prompt the developer to reconsider and might result in fewer turbines on the site or expanding the site.
Councillors voted not to support the project in its current form because of turbines’ proximity to neighbouring property boundaries, overcrowding of turbines and safety issues for drivers along the Woolsthorpe-Heywood
Road due to shadow flicker.
The message to the State Government is that Moyne Shire supports renewable energy; just not this project.
The council, however, wants to leave the door open for the developer to return to with a revised plan.
Cr Stan Cook did not want to vote for a project which could compromise driver safety.
Mayor Gerald Madden said the project was an over-proliferation of turbines in a small area but the council needed to keep an open mind about renewable energy.
By Sarah Scopelianos
18 April 2007
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