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Pyrenees council to warn property buyers of wind farm proximity

Pyrenees Shire Council may move to ensure potential property buyers are made aware of wind farm development in their proximity before granting permits, mayor Michael O’Connor has said.

Cr O’Connor’s comments followed Moorabool Shire Council’s decision to grant a planning permit to five neighbouring properties on Ballan-Egerton Road on the condition that potential purchasers be made aware about an approved wind farm within two kilometres.

Moorabool mayor Pat Griffin said the application, which came before the council last month, was for a subdivision of a large block of land in Ballan. The properties are within two kilometres of the WestWind Energy facility which will have 107 turbines that are up to 150m in height.

“The reason we put the condition on the permit is so that when the land sells the people are informed that they are building a house within two kilometres of a wind farm,” Cr Griffin said. “But we can only apply these condition on any new subdivisions or permits.”

Cr Griffin said the Moorabool Shire wind farm policy may be amended in the future to include the proviso and the condition applied to all new permits.

“To be consistent we would … (have to) apply this condition to every new application,” he said.

Cr O’ Connor said in future the Pyrenees council may need to look at doing the same. “We are very, very aware of the need to make sure people are informed as much as possible,” Cr O’Connor said.

“We would be very careful in planning applications that come to us for any sort of activity, be it subdivision, be it a building permit application that would put the activity within a 2km range of wind farms. There is an internal mechanism that would trigger a warning that there is a possible conflict in that area.”

However, Cr O’Connor said the council had not yet faced a situation where it may have to put such a disclosure proviso on a property. “That is not a matter that has come before our council … but if wind farm development continues … it is probably an area that Pyrenees shire would need to look at,” he said.