The operators of Waubra Wind Farm have bought the property of one of their most vocal critics.
Acciona Energy announced the purchase of Trish and Victor Godfrey’s five-acre property yesterday for an undisclosed amount.
Managing director Brett Thomas said the decision to buy the Godfreys’ property followed lengthy discussions with the couple over the visual impact of turbines on their property.
Mr Thomas said the original developer did not complete a visual impact assessment on the property.
Acciona Energy acquired the project in December 2005 and the turbines started generating power in 2009.
Mrs Godfrey has actively campaigned against wind turbines alleging they cause major health problems including insomnia, depression, headaches, dizziness, nausea and tinnitus.
In a letter to The Courier on September 21, Mrs Godfrey also said the low-frequency sound generated by turbines could disrupt sleep.
Mrs Godfrey was not available to speak to The Courier yesterday.
It is believed she has signed a confidentiality agreement with Acciona Energy.
In a press release issued by Acciona Energy, Mrs Godfrey says there was no doubt that changes around the property altered many of the couple’s reasons for originally moving to the district nine years ago.
“Acciona Energy has worked with Victor and me to help resolve what’s been a very distressing situation,” she says.
Mr Thomas said Acciona was under no obligation to purchase the property, but considered all aspects of a project’s operation on its individual merits.
He said a recurrence of the specific circumstances confronting the Godreys was highly unlikely.
“We look at issues on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
“The key thing we try to do is listen to the community and its concerns.”
“They (the Godfreys) did have special circumstances that we addressed.”
Mr Thomas said the decision to buy the property was not related to allegations about health problems.
“(The) issue was one about the visual impact and having a number of turbines around them _ that was the key point,” he said.
“We do not believe there are adverse health impacts.”
Mr Thomas said he could not discuss the price Acciona Energy paid for the property, but “it was a market-relevant price, determined by independent experts”.
Real estate agent Neville Dooly of Jens Gaunt Ballarat said a five-hectare residential property at Waubra would normally fetch between about $200,000 and $300,000.