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Wind turbines: Health fears mount

Pam Wallis remembers the mail in her letterbox on Mother’s Day two years ago.

Instead of a greeting card, a coloured flyer from renewable energy company WestWind announced a “done deal” of hundreds of wind turbines, up to 150 metres tall, to be erected around her Mount Wallace farm.

Some turbines would be as close as 900 metres from her Ballan-Meredith Road house where she lives with husband Gary.

“I rang everyone that weekend straightaway; I knew it meant bad stuff,” she said.

“We came here for the fresh air, the quiet. The views are spectacular, but now it’s just going to be ruined and the whole lifestyle is going to go.”

Ms Wallis, 59, has been fighting against the Moorabool Wind Farm project ever since it was mooted. After spending her inheritance on building and developing the farmland, she has no plans to leave.

“I’m not going anywhere; I’m not going to be pushed off my land,” she said.

But as concerns of health risks caused by noise and vibrations from the wind turbines increase, nearby residents are selling up.

Turbines of the Moorabool and Yaloak South wind farms will surround neighbour Sue Giddens’ house on Mount Wallace-Ballark Road in a 360-degree circle.

“Our house is on the market now as there will be basically two lots of turbines within a two-kilometre radius,” Ms Giddens said.

She said at least 20 properties between Mount Egerton and Mount Wallace were up for sale.

“People won’t stay because they don’t want to be subjected to continual health effects for the rest of their lives; a lot of people are older people in this area. Everyone’s scared and justifiably so; they’re having to walk off their land and farmers don’t walk off their property for no reason.”

Ms Giddens, who suffers from cerebral palsy, feared the noise and vibrations would harm her health.

“My balance isn’t the best already and it’s going to affect my inner ear. I’ve suffered from migraines for many years, and I don’t want to have to live like that.”

But Ballan residents Geoff Wells and Jackie Warner have opted to rent part of their 405-hectare property to have nine turbines installed.

Mr Wells, a sheep and cattle farmer, said times had been tough on his farm and they would welcome the extra money.

He would not specify the figure but said it was a “reasonable amount”.

“It’s sort of like drought-proofing our income because it’s just a constant stream of income.

”We support wind power generally and even more so now we’re getting something back.”