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Debate rages over wind farms  

The debate over a wind farm at Smeaton continued yesterday, with a protest meeting of concerned residents.

About 45 people gathered yesterday to show their strong opposition to the proposed turbine project.

The group was largely made up of nearby residents and landholders of the Spa Country Landscape Guardians group.

The fight is one they claim is tearing their community apart and fracturing friendships.

“It seems whenever you get a proposition for them (wind turbines) it causes an outcry in the community. It happened and tore the community apart at Leonards Hill and now it’s happening here,” Hepburn Shire councillor Bill McClenaghan said.

“I’m not against renewable energy, but against inefficient ways of producing it that has negative social affects.”

However nearby landholder Rob Talbot disagreed.

Mr Talbot said he believed the protesters were exaggerating the level of tension in the community.

“I haven’t encountered any of the animosity people are saying there is. Not in Smeaton, anyway,” he said.

“I go to the pub, I go to the community clubs and there is no dissention at all.”

Mr Talbot said he had recently applied to Wind Power to become a community liaison officer and said both parties should be able to find an amicable solution to the problems.

“You can move between the two parties and find out what’s acceptable to both, and that’s what’s important,” he said.

However, others disagree about how useful the turbines will be in the chosen location.

“We had 14 days of calm wind in April,” resident Leighton Evans said.

Mr Evans’ property is less than a kilometre from where the turbines could be, and he is against the development on several grounds.

“They are going to be 44 storeys high. In some areas in the community people are asking what’s wrong with them, but more people should take notice of the people who are directly being effected,” he said.

Smeaton and Campbelltown are at the centre of the proposed wind farm development by Wind Power that could see 19 turbines across the hills.

A community consultation day will be held this Sunday at the Smeaton Bowling Club from 10am until 3pm.

The Courier

28 May 2007

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

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