November 10, 2010

Turbines nod fury for Moorabool Mayor

by Madeline Healey, Melton Leadeer, 10 November 2010

Moorabool Mayor Pat Toohey is furious that the State Government has given the go ahead for 140 wind turbines to be built in the shire.

Minister for Energy and Resources Peter Batchelor last week announced that planning permits have been granted to WestWind Energy to build the $750 million, 107-turbine Moorabool Wind Farm at Mt Wallace and Pacific Hydro to build the $130 million, 14-turbine Yaloak South Wind Farm.

Mr Batchelor said the wind farms would help the Government to meet its target to drive down greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. But Cr Toohey said the Government had turned a deaf ear to the community and the council.

“In the permit conditions it says turbines should be 1km from houses and Moorabool shire’s policy says it should be 2km, that was ignored,” Cr Toohey said.

He said turbines would be built close to property boundaries which meant neighbours to wind farms would not be able to use their land to build houses near the boundaries in future.

“In reality it may well have an impact on the ability of our com Leg 2 munity to take up their rights,” Cr Toohey said.

Last Monday’s announcement, made only a day before the Government went into caretaker mode, left neighbours to the two wind farm projects devastated.

Janene Skidmore, whose Mt Wallace property will be surrounded by turbines, said she could not repeat her first words after hearing the news.

“I can tell you, the bloke around the corner said it was like a dagger through his heart,” she said. “My mother’s words were; The quicker I’m dead and out of this place the better”.

Ms Skidmore said she was worried the loud noise from turbines and flashing lights would give her constant migraines and that her property would lose value.

Another neighbour to the project, Len Giddins, said there were 140 homes within 3.5 kilometres of the turbines.

“We’ve got five turbines one kilometre from our house.”

Mr Giddins vowed to appeal the decision at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal.

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