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Wind farm protest to heat up in Yass

A public meeting will be held this weekend at the Yass Soldiers Club regarding the increasing applications for wind farms in the area.

The ABC’s Four Corners program is expected to attend the meeting, hosted by the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians (BDLG).

The meeting will be held at the Soldiers Club from 2.30pm where guest speakers will discuss wind developments proposed for the Yass Valley. According to the BDLG there are approximately 600 turbines proposed for the area.

The Yass Valley has become a hot spot for wind farm development with farms planned for Yass, Binalong/Bookham, Boorowa, Rugby and Rye Park.

A guest speaker for the event is Dr Sarah Laurie, who is researching the health effects of wind turbines and has spoken at many forums held in the local area.

Also attending will be Victorian farmer Carl Stephnell and the local members of parliament state MP Katrina Hodgkinson and federal MP Alby Schultz.

Speakers for the wind farm companies including Epuron, Suzlon and Wind Lab, have been invited but have not yet confirmed their attendance.

Mike Inkster from the BDLG was hopeful the wind turbine companies would attend so they can gauge the public’s interest.

“We’d love them to attend… we’ve saved speaking spots. They declined our last invite but they are more likely to attend this time,” Mr Inkster said.

Mr Inkster explained this was because avid anti-wind activist and renowned artist Humphrey Price-Jones isn’t attending.

With such momentum building for wind turbine development in the area, Yass Valley Councillors are concerned the community might be torn apart.

Commercial wind farms, those costing over $30 million, will not come under council’s jurisdiction even after the abolishment of the state governments Part 3A in planning legislation.

However, because they will have a huge impact on the community, councillors believe they should still be involved.

Mayor Nic Carmody said the wind farm companies should be involved in community consultation, including possible public forums.

Paul De Szell, the council’s director of planning and environmental services, said the companies won’t hold public meetings as they tend to turn out to be anti-wind farm rallies.

They don’t do it “because they don’t want to cop abuse”, Mr De Szell said.

The councillors noted the fact that Bookham was looking down the barrel of an enormous wind development but weren’t up in arms like many other communities.

Mr De Szell attributed this to the tight-knit community. He said although some residents will have positive outcomes from the developments others could lose in the process.

Council may visit a wind farm before one of the next meetings to see what impact these developments might have on Yass Valley residents.

The public meeting, hosted by the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians, will be held at the Yass Soldiers Club tomorrow from 2.30pm.