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Community divided  

Wind Power Pty Ltd will use a consultation meeting at Smeaton to give Hepburn Shire residents a clearer understanding of community reactions to the proposed Tuki wind farm.

Director Andrew Newbold said the company had received a lot of support from Hepburn Shire people and so far the proposal had “ticked all the boxes” environmentally.

“Part of the community consultation is allowing everyone to be heard, not just the one’s making all the noise,” he said.

Wind Power has invited rally groups to set up their own stalls at the meeting.

“Let’s have an argument on the facts – not just the emotion of one group of people,” Mr Newbold said.

The suggestion that a once harmonious Smeaton community was being split into a bickering township was offensive and untrue, according to Smeaton resident Elizabeth Ashman.

Ms Ashman said regardless of their views on the proposed Tuki wind farm, the majority of Smeaton residents continued to use common sense and integrity in their dealings with their neighbours, and were not subsumed by the current debate.

“Don’t get fooled by the emotional rhetoric about the wind farm into thinking Smeaton is ‘ruined’,” she said.

“It’s simply not true. Smeaton continues to be a friendly community environment,” she said.

At a Spa Country Landscape Guardians barbecue on Sunday, Richard Evans said the wind farm issue was affecting some parents’ choices to enrol their children at other schools away from Smeaton because the wind farm proponents had created division in the school community.

Smeaton Primary School principal Phonse Liddle did not want to comment.

Mr Evans said he had heard of cases where people at church were not talking to people they had known their whole lives.

Former resident Sophie Elsworth said she noticed a change in the community when she returned to Smeaton recently.

“It is heartbreaking to see once a harmonious community split into a bickering township,” she said.

“From the kids at the local primary school arguing over who wants the wind farm and who does not, to the thieves who continue to rip down the placards protesting the development, Smeaton is now a community of unrest.”

The meeting will be held on Sunday at the Smeaton Bowls Club between 10am and 3pm.

The Advocate

29 May 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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