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Wind fight turns ugly  

Smeaton wind farm opponents could sue their neighbours if a proposal to build 19 turbines in the area goes ahead.

The Spa Country Landscape Guardians group hired a Melbourne law firm, Terence F. Grundy, to send letters to landholders who have agreed or intend to have turbines on their properties.

In the letter Mr Grundy stated: `My client reserves its rights to pursue you personally for any economic loss and loss of enjoyment of property rights should you grant a lease to the proponent for the purposes of the proposal.’

Wind Power, the company behind the Stoney Rises proposal north of Smeaton, has accused the group of hypocrisy.

`I think it’s extraordinary we get accused of intimidation,’ director Andrew Newbold said.

`We don’t do that sort of thing, we don’t write to people via registered post saying that sort of thing.

`We have written to the people who received it and assured them we are doing everything in compliance with state and federal regulations and if we are approved there is no legal recourse.’

Spa Country Landscape Guardians group spokesman Will Elsworth said the letter was not threatening or intimidating and said objectors were only exercising their right.

`It’s not threatening. It’s only advising we are going to take action in the advent the proposal goes ahead,’ he said.

Mr Grundy said he was following instructions and his clients were only sticking up for their rights.

`They are fighting a corporation that has got a lot of money, they are in business and they are just putting people on notice,’ he said.

`We are putting people on notice that if they co-operate with these people and go ahead with it we will sue. There is a big difference at law between intimidating or harassing people…so they are aware of what may happen and the consequence of their action.’

Robert Jones, owner of the Tuki Trout Farm, said he had received a letter and passed it onto Wind Power.

`Everybody is entitled to their opinions on the proposal,’ Mr Jones said.

`I am supportive and know the need for renewable energy. I think we have got to get our heads together and somebody has to bite the bullet and create these locations whether it’s solar, wind or whatever else.’

A consultation meeting will be held tomorrow, at the Smeaton Bowling Club from 10am to 3pm.

The Courier

2 June 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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