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Residents speak out

A number of concerned residents turned out yesterday to attend the Sapphire Wind Farm open day.

The event was held at the Glen Innes Library and Learning Centre and started at 3pm and ran through until 7pm.

The proposed site for the wind farm is at Kings Plains and would consist of 129 turbines that could be up to 156 metres high. Over a year it could supply electricity to 182,605 homes throughout the New England.

The open day was scheduled to give residents a chance to have their say and provide feedback on the project.

The wind farm would affect 24 landholders and the company proposing the project, Wind Prospect CWP is still in negotiations with some landholders.

Wind Prospect CWP searched the entire state to find a location suitable to build a wind farm and eventually they chose Kings Plains.

They will submit their proposal to the Department of Planning in May and from then on, they will have to go through an eight month process in order for the application to be approved or disapproved.

If the project goes ahead, construction would not start until the middle or end of 2012.

Senior development manager for the project Adrian Maddocks said Kings Plains was chosen for a number of reasons.

“The wind speed is good enough, it has good access with infrastructure and the hills are relatively clear of trees,” he said.

Mr Maddocks said there are many advantages to wind farms, including protecting the environment.

“They produce clean, renewable energy,” he said.

Mr Maddocks said if the project does go ahead the construction phase would be great for the local economy, with a number of workers having to stay in Glen Innes.

“It would inject a lot of money into Glen Innes,” he said.

“There would also be half a dozen to a dozen permanent jobs.”

Mr Maddocks said he was pleased that members of the community attended the open day to have their opinion heard.

“I’m pleased that there is a reasonable turn out,” he said.

“We are aware that people have concerns and we will do everything we can to address them.”