A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision to grant a permit for a wind farm substation in Elaine will harm the community, according to Moorabool mayor Pat Griffin.
Meridian Energy’s $17million project at Murphys Road has been approved by VCAT after the council knocked it back in February.
The application includes the removal of native vegetation and the installation of a single-circuit 132kV transmission line to transfer electricity generated at the Mount Mercer wind farm to the national grid.
The VCAT approval came after state environment and conservation minister gave the green light for the removal of vegetation of “high to very high conservation significance”.
Cr Griffin said the council had no recourse to an appeal after the minister’s approval to remove the vegetation.
“I would never call any decision of the minister unfair,” he said.
“But it is not in keeping in with the conservation principles of Moorabool.”
Cr Griffin said while the council was not against wind farms, it was concerned for the well-being of the community.
“This Mount Mercer wind farm is not in the best interests of the well-being of the people who live there.”
According to the VCAT ruling, the proposed electrical substation on the 1.9-hectares of land was not an application for a wind farm and therefore could not be judged against the council’s wind farm policy.
Mr Smith and Meridian Energy did not respond before the Weekly went to print.
Earlier this year, Elaine resident Marcus O’Brien told the Weekly the substation would be just 1.8 kilometres from his property’s boundaries.
Mr O’Brien, who spoke at a VCAT meeting in March, feared the town’s central location would result in more power lines and development.
“The substation will continually be added on to service all the wind farms at the expense of the farmers and residents who live here,” he said.
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