Glen Innes Severn Council has maintained its position that its Development Control Plan for windpower generation is council’s policy, despite revelations that some opponents had been broadly aware of the proposal for some time.
Council’s position was re-iterated following a fiery public forum at its monthly meeting on Thursday, at which it was also criticised by opponents for not taking ownership of the problem.
During the forum windfarm opponent and Furracabad valley landowner Frank McAlary QC revealed early in the piece he had been in discussion with co-developer Babcock and Brown about possibly being involved the project, but had decided not to proceed. He also told councillors that ratepayers, not developers, elected them.
“If the windfarm proceeds it will be of no benefit to the landowners in the valley; they will suffer loss of value on their properties.
“You are not their (the developers’) representatives; you should only look to the people who elected you,” Mr McAlary said.
Fellow opponent Maryanne Evans accused council of favouring developers and the obvious monetary contributions it would receive, over local residents.
On the other side of the issue, landowner Rob Dulhunty, who has a contract with the windfarm developers, asked whether council’s DCP should apply to objections from residents who knowingly moved into the path of the windfarm.
In front of a public gallery of 25 people, council firstly heard a presentation by Furracabad resident Ashley Peake who confronted council about what he said was a failure to represent the residents of the Furracabad valley who will not receive monetary gains as a result of the windfarm development, and failure to publicly support a two-kilometre setback.
Ms Evans followed with her presentation where she challenged council to support residents following the formulation of the DCP, by enforcing the 2km setback. She criticised council for using “the politically expedient phrase, this is State-significant development therefore it is out of our hands”.
Ms Evans also challenged council in relation to the so-called section 94 contributions. Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, council is entitled to one per cent of the development, which she has equated to $1.5million.
Director of Development and Environmental Services Graham Price, who was the principal author of the DCP, told the meeting that initially council did not think it was eligible for the contributions as it was not the consent authority. However if the development goes ahead it will seek the contribution, to be used for things like library books, roads and parks.
In response to the three public addresses, mayor Steve Toms said that he didn’t see any problems with pushing a 2km setback.
At this point landholder Mr Dulhunty, who has a contract with the developers to erect turbines on his property, asked Cr Toms about its position on the 2km setback. Also in the gallery was Allan Fletcher, on whose property a proposed turbine falls within 2km of the Evans’ house.
In response, Cr Toms said the 2km setback applies to existing houses and likely lots for a dwelling.
Elaborated Mr Price: “If the Furracabad development proceeds, council will ask that with any subsequent development the dwelling not be located within the 2km,” Mr Price said.
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