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Blades split town

Celebrity chef Peter Russell-Clarke says the small community of Tooborac is being torn apart by plans for a 70-turbine wind farm.

Mr Russell-Clarke, 73, who moved to the town of 300 near Lancefield two years ago, said locals were divided over the plan by Transfield Services.

Mr Russell-Clarke, also an accomplished painter, said he had shelved plans for a community art studio in the town due to the plans.

“People who have invested everything in this town stand to go broke,” Mr Russell-Clarke said.

“In food terms you wouldn’t eat a koala so why would you want to put up a tower taller than the MCG lights on this stunning landscape.”

Mr Russell-Clarke has helped to produce a DVD for anti-wind farm group Residents Against Turbines in Tooborac (RATS).

The former ABC television chef has also been approached by Macedon Ranges Guardians in its campaign against a planned wind farm at Sidonia Hills.

RATS spokesman Grahame Dingle said Tooborac was filled with dissent.

“People who were friends are no longer friends because there will be too many losers if this goes ahead,” he said.

Transfield Services wind farm development manager Danny Neil said the company would lodge a planning application with the State Government once a feasibility study was completed.

He said initial plans were for a maximum of 70 turbines that could power 75,000 homes.

Northern Victoria Liberal MP Donna Petrovich, who met concerned residents last Thursday, slammed the Government’s “jackboot approach” to local planning.

“Rural communities increasingly feel they have no voice and if you look at the Government’s track record on the north-south pipeline, the desalination plant and wind farms, it’s not surprising,” she said.

But State Government spokesman Michael Sinclair said that once an application was submitted, it will be available for the public to view before an independent panel took submissions.

Barry Kennedy

Macedon Ranges Leader

28 July 2008