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Windfarm residents pack council meeting

Members of the Glen Innes Landscape Guardians stood united to express once again their opposition to the development of the Furracabad valley, filling to capacity the gallery during the public consultation period of Glen Innes Severn Council’s April meeting last Thursday.

Furracabad resident Dan McAlary addressed council on behalf of concerned residents.

He expressed his gratitude to council for the formulation of the draft development control plan for wind power generation, but shared concerns of those opposed to the developments that the guidelines not be diluted in their intent.

Council’s duty of care to ratepayers was reiterated.

“We appreciate that the determining authority is the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor,” Mr McAlary said. “But you remain our representatives. Our views must be made known to you by us and communicated by you to the Minister and to his office.”

Mr McAlary stated that the wind farm does not benefit Glen Innes. He highlighted the fact that other proposed developments such as a McDonalds bring employment to the town. However suggested that the developers would erect the turbines, sell the wind farm to a fund for a large sum and walk away with the profits leaving the landscape permanently scared.

Brought to council’s attention were documentation confirming adverse health effects for residents living within close proximity to turbines. The documents contained a minimum set back of 2.4km. However a greater distance was recommended if the turbines were located on a ridge, in a cluster or if they contained an output over two megawatts as the proposed Glen Innes wind farm does. The guardians proposed that a 3km set back, in place of council’s 2km, be implemented into the control plan.

“We are not against sustainable energy solutions only inappropriate placement,” Mr McAlary said. “Council can look forward to our written submissions (commenting upon the draft development control plan for wind power generation).”

Following the consideration of council business reports, Councillor Dianne Newman proposed council to submit a letter to the minister from council on behalf of the views expressed by the Glen Innes Landscape Guardians group.

“I have not heard any views from people who support the wind farm,” Cr Newman said. “It (the development) does concern me. I would hate to have them in my backyard. You can see from the number of people at consultation opposed to the development; I think council should submit a letter.”

Director of Development and Environmental Services, Graham price responded suggesting that council wait until the May council meeting to formulate a letter to the minister containing council’s position on the development.

“Submissions to council for comment on the draft close on Monday (yesterday),” he said. “The report will be prepared for the May council meeting. I recommend that once council adopt the DCP then it will be an appropriate time to write to the minister providing councils position.”

Naomi Davidson

Glen Innes Examiner

29 April 2008