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Windmills threaten Blampied  

My Irish ancestors settled in Blampied in the 1860s. It is a beautiful place. Would windmills be a good thing? I think not!

The following letter should interest anyone who has sought solace on the basalt plains near Daylesford.

You may be interested to hear about a proposal which has divided the local community in your ancestor’s area. If a 19 wind turbine proposal goes ahead at the Tuki Trout Farm, Stoney Rises, Smeaton, the view from Kangaroo Hills will be changed as we know it. As the crow flies the turbines would be some 6km or so away from Blampied, on top of a raised volcanic escarpment known as Stoney Rises.

Needless to say, the community is extremely anxious as to the impact an industrial wind farm would have on the amenity of the area, endangered species such as the powerful owl, legless lizard and wedge-tailed eagle, not to mention jeopardise the financial viability of the community from a devaluation in land prices. The proponent is Wind Power Pty Ltd, headed by Steve Buckle.

Smeaton and surrounding areas of Kooroocheang, Ullina, Lawrence and Campbelltown have formed a coalition to object to this industrial development. The subject site is partly covered by a Significant Landscape Overlay, however Wind Power has stated that it will nevertheless lodge a planning application with Hepburn Shire. The community was given only 7 days notice of a community consultation’ meeting held on 7/3/2007 for a project that has been in the pipeline since at least June 2006.

The 140m turbines will be placed within 1400 meters of homes whose owners are not stakeholders in the project. One adjoining resident is a 95-year-old war veteran. It is devastating for our town because it has split the community through its core. Wounds between neighbours, friends and even family have been opened that may never heal. The proponent has offered $500 per turbine per annum to the town…

Brad Evans, planner (his family’s farm is adjacent to the proposed site and his grandfather is the 95-year-old war veteran), and myself would be interested to meet or talk with you to discuss the impact this proposal has already had on the community. We have also been trying to make contact with historian Lucille Quinlan (or her family),given her extensive work in the area.

The turbines will be within a 5km radius of Smeaton House, home of founding settler, Captain John Hepburn. We would be grateful for any support or comment you could offer. We are planning a community forum with key note speakers, which we would like to discuss further. We would be interested to hear the ‘Cleary perspective’ on an issue damaging the heart and soul of so many Victorian rural communities such as ours.

Kind regards,

Emma Elsworth.

philcleary.com.au

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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