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Wind farm threatens 1000-year-old tree

A wind farm being built in South Australia is threatening endangered animals and one of the nation’s oldest trees, nearby residents say.

SA Democrat Sandra Kanck, and some residents of Hallett, have asked Federal Environment Minister Peter Garret to stop part of AGL Energy’s proposed wind farm around the mid-north town.

She says they are not opposed to AGL’s five-cluster 100-turbine wind farm, the first part of which is due to open soon.

But they want one cluster stopped, claiming it threatens water and unique ecology atop Mt Bryan – SA’s second highest mountain.

“The Hallet 3 cluster of 32 turbines planned for the Mt Bryan area is only 20 metres from possibly the oldest tree in South Australia,” Ms Kanck said.

“The eucalyptus bicostata is a form of blue-gum that is unique to SA.

“The wind farm also threatens vulnerable, endangered and rare plants and animals including the silver daisy, pygmy blue-tongued lizards and wedge tailed eagles.

“I want more wind power for SA but not here.”

Hallett resident and gallery owner Felicity Martin says Mt Bryan, which gets snow most winters, has five distinct ecosystems, plus springs important to the town.

The threatened tree was believed to be nearly 1000 years old, she said.

“Everyone would be up in arms if they decided to bulldoze Mt Lofty (SA’s highest peak) and have a wind farm up there,” Ms Martin said.

“And this has probably got even more unique fauna than on Mt Lofty.”

Ms Kanck has written to Mr Garrett asking him to halt the project until it can be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

By Liza Kappelle

PerthNow

2 April 2008