Community opposition to the proliferation of wind farms in the Mid North continues to increase as new applications for wind monitoring towers appear before local councils.
Stop Industrial Wind Turbines members will appear before the Regional Council of Goyder Development Assessment Panel this Friday to present their concerns for a wind monitoring tower application.
The DAP will hear their objections to the erection of a wind monitoring tower on the Burra Hills as part of Roaring 40s’ proposed Stony Gap wind energy project.
Objectors plan to call on panel member and Robertstown Councillor John Neal to absent himself from any discussion involving Roaring 40s projects before the DAP.
“It is our understanding that Cr Neal has signed contracts with the company to have wind turbines on his property and stands to make many tens of thousands of dollars from this industry.
“He has a vested interest in this matter,” SIWT spokesperson Ally Fricker said.
Cr Neal told the Northern Argus yesterday that although he had signed an option with Roaring 40s about five years ago to give them exclusivity to any future contracts for wind towers on his land, he believed this had not bound him to the company.
“I have a very open mind at the moment – I am quite well read and informed about wind farms and have not made any decisions,” he said.
“The current proposals for wind monitoring masts before the DAP at the moment have no affect on me whatsoever – they won’t bring me any financial benefit and are quite well removed from where I live,” he said.
Cr Neal said he agreed that the prospect of having wind turbines was a financially attractive one to most landowners.
“But I am listening to the pros and cons – I know there are a lot of people concerned about windfarms.”
The Stony Gap project is a 40-turbine wind farm proposal starting about 6km south of Burra adjacent to the Old Adelaide Rd, complete with sub-station and a new 275kv grid line to the Robertstown sub-station.
Roaring 40s also has plans for another wind farm between Robertstown and Point Pass as well as operating the Waterloo Wind Farm, which was officially opened last month by Premier Mike Rann.
“Should the Stony Gap project proceed, we believe the turbines will be considerably closer to the township of Burra than any of the existing turbines, operated by AGL, to the north of the town,” Ms Fricker said.
SIWT members said although they would have a representation at the DAP meeting on Friday, they were unhappy about the time of day set for the hearing.
“Eleven in the morning of a working day might suit councillors and panel members but is quite inconvenient for many members of the public,” Ms Fricker said.
Also up for consideration at the panel meeting is a request from Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd for permission to erect a wind monitoring tower north east of Burra.
There is a recommendation to the panel that both wind monitoring tower requests be approved, as neither are seriously at variance with the council’s development plan.
The Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council refused two wind monitoring tower applications last year.
One on the Camels Hump Ranges north of Clare and the other on the Skilly Hills above Watervale.
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