Wind turbines proposed for a site near Hawkesdale could be moved about 100m from positions shown on plans if Aboriginal cultural sites are found.
An expert panel that will make a recommendation to Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden about the $145 million project wrapped up four days of hearings yesterday.
TME Australia is proposing to build 31 turbines across 2280ha of farming land near Hawkesdale.
A legal adviser for the proponent, Tim Power, said the company was opposed to Moyne Shire’s request to create a 150m buffer zone between turbines and property boundaries, even though plans show no turbines are within that distance.
During discussions about possible permit conditions it was revealed the company was seeking to be able to move the turbines from planned positions if cultural heritage sites were discovered.
Mr Power said the company had suggested a 135m buffer zone between turbines and property boundaries because it would allow the company to move the turbines if needed.
“Turbines would not be relocated close to roads out of malice… The buffer distance (suggested by the council) is not substantiated by any science,” Mr Power said.
“We won’t move turbines closer to properties or the road unless we need to.”
Landscaping on the wind farm and neighbour’s properties, cultural heritage requirements, environmental plans and further bat and bird monitoring at the site were also discussed as possible permit conditions if the project went ahead.
Objector Margaret McCosh said the company had moved an access track away from a lane the family used on the farm but concerns remained.
Mrs McCosh said turbine A30 was in view of her home and near an area where a lot of farming activities happened.
“It’s right in our face and we want it moved 500m from the boundary,” Mrs McCosh said.
“If the Woolsthorpe wind farm went ahead we would be surrounded by wind turbines. What will happen in 30 years time when they all become obsolete?”
Mrs McCosh said the family had greater concerns about the Hawkesdale wind farm because it could be viewed from the house.
She said there appeared to be no plans to keep turbines confined to one area.
The Framlingham Trust forwarded a written submission but was not represented at yesterday’s hearing.
The three-member panel has eight weeks from yesterday to report to Mr Madden.
By Sarah Scopelianos
19 April 2007
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