After years of fighting and campaigning, the Van Rijthoven family yesterday celebrated victory, enjoying the idyllic lifestyle they have fought so hard to protect.
Philip and Susan Van Rijthoven breathed a sigh of relief after Corangamite Shire Council decided on Tuesday not to approve the Newfield Wind Farm.
They were concerned the 15-turbine wind farm would devalue their property and affect the tranquillity of the valley.
But Mr and Mrs Van Rijthoven know they could have another challenge on their hands if the wind farm proponent Acciona Energy decides to appeal the decision with VCAT.
Mr Van Rijthoven said he wanted to thank the council for its decision.
“It has been a huge work load for them over the last three to four years, trying to find what positives there are for a wind farm here. They couldn’t find much,” he said.
“The decision they have made was based on the benefits to the local people, the wider community, for this country and also tourists.”
Mr Van Rijthoven said if the proposal was taken to VCAT he would do all he could to stop it being approved.
Another Newfield landholder Peter Johns also congratulated the council for responding to residents’ concerns. “Hopefully this sends a clear message to other wind farm companies not to put wind turbines down on this pristine piece of coastline,” he said.
Acciano did not return calls yesterday. Randall Bell, president of anti-wind farm group Landscape Guardians, welcomed the council’s vote. “The case against a wind farm on the Great Ocean Road… in a long-term sense is overwhelming. People don’t come from around the world to look at a wind factory.”
By Madeline Healey and Alex Johnson
24 January 2008
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