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Group takes its wind farm worries to King  

Anti-wind farm campaigners in Smeaton who say local politicians are ignoring them took the chance to raise their concerns with Ballarat MHR Catherine King on the weekend.

Members of the Spa Country Landscape Guardians group discussed their opposition to a proposed 19-turbine wind farm to be constructed in the Smeaton area with Ms King in her mobile office on Saturday.

Spa Country Landscape Guardians group spokesman Will Elsworth said the group was hoping Ms King would be able to wield some influence on the issue.

“We want to see this handled appropriately by Wind Power and we want her (Ms King) to get the local member (for Ripon) Joe Helper to actually do something,” he said.

Mr Elsworth said Mr Helper was not personally returning calls about their opposition to the proposed wind farm.

He said the proposed wind farm had divided the community and caused huge disruptions.

“And everything’s just ceased in the community,” he said.

“There’s properties on the market that can’t be sold.”

Ms King said there was clearly concern in the local community about Wind Power’s proposal.

“Certainly the community’s not feeling as though its been adequately consulted and I’ll certainly contact Wind Power to talk to them about their consultation.”

“Obviously I’m a supporter of alternative energy, but I have consistently said I don’t think local communities should be ridden roughshod over when these sorts of proposals are being put in place.”

Ms King said no planning application had yet been submitted by Wind Power to either the local council or the State Government and as a federal member she would have no authority on a decision on the proposed wind farm.

Ripon MLA Joe Helper said he supported plans for a wind farm in Smeaton and looked forward to the proposal going through the proper planning process.

“I thing the guardian group seem to be of the opinion that if somebody disagrees with them they’re not engaging with them,” he said.

“I have met with a number of individuals who oppose it.”

Mr Helper said people were very welcome to ring him up and express their views, but just because he wasn’t necessarily picking up the receiver did not mean they were not being heard.

The Courier

2 July 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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