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Sails flapping on wind farm

Owners of a proposed wind farm in the Broomehill-Tambellup and Kojonup shires are still considering their next course of action.

Moonie Hills Energy (MHE) withdrew their development application with the Broomehill-Tambellup Shire Council for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm project, after it was discovered last month the existing town planning scheme (TPS) did not allow council to consider the proposal.

The Broomehill and Tambellup Shires amalgamated last year and have not yet formulated a new TPS.

The original TPS prohibits the production of electricity on farm land.

MHE director Sarah Rankin said the TPS had to be changed before they could relodge the application for planning approval.

“The scheme amendment process is quicker than waiting for the new amalgamated TPS, which is not due till 2014,” Ms Rankin said.

“The scheme amendment should take about 12 months.”

Ms Rankin said they had written to council to ask whether an amendment to the TPS would be considered.

“More than likely we will go down that track but we will wait to hear from them before making a final decision,” she said.

“The existing TPS is inadequate for many things besides the wind farm project.

“The Broomehill-Tambellup Council is not able to accept any PV (photovoltaic) systems on roofs of houses, no industry that might generate electricity as a by-product and no industry that may require generation of electricity.

“So it makes the shire a pretty unattractive place, I would have thought, for anybody to do any development while that’s in place.

“It’s an outdated scheme that needs to be amended for more than just our project.”

Ms Rankin said they still planned to proceed with the project.

“If we don’t get approval in one shire, it could change the ultimate size of the project but at this stage we’re confident the project will go ahead as planned,” she said.

Broomehill-Tambellup Shire Council president Barry Webster said the letter from MHE was not discussed at the council meeting last Thursday.

“It was brought forward too late for the meeting,” Mr Webster said.

“Shire is still seeking some advice on the amendment process so we would have that information ready by the next meeting and if MHE put in their request, we could resolve it then.”

The next Shire meeting is on September 15.