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Opinions divided on wind farm amendments

The wind farm gust blew to Naracoorte this week at a public meeting held to discuss the South Australian Government’s proposed legislation on wind farm developments.

More than 20 people attended, with most opposed to the new changes which include a one-kilometre buffer zone between wind farms and homes, and the removal of a third party appeal to contest proposed developments.

Six attendees presented verbal submissions they had prepared to a five panel Development Policy Advisory Committee in the Naracoorte Town Hall.

Eight Mile Creek resident Louise Paltridge, whose family successfully won an appeal in court against the development of the Allendale East wind farm, said the removal of the third party appeal in the Development Plan Amendment (DPA) was undemocratic.

“To take away the democratic rights of South Australian citizens and deny them appeal is the height of arrogance and the actions of a desperate and despondent Government,” she said.

Leith McEvoy spoke on behalf of the District Council of Grant as the Director of Planning and Development expressing support for amendments stipulating wind turbines must have a separation zone of one-kilometre from homes and two-kilometres from regional centres.

He also called for an annual acoustic report documenting noise generated from turbines to be submitted to Council and available to the public.

Rendelsham resident Donald Stewart was disappointed by the lack of presence from the Wattle Range Council to address concerns over a proposed wind farm in the Rendelsham area.

“There are people in Millicent who barely know what is happening.

“It is a closely settled district, it is not sparse at all,” he angered.

While most opponents to the DPA hailed from the Lower South East, one supporter thought the changes were a step in the right direction.

Karel Gerritsen was the only resident from Naracoorte to address the meeting, stepping up to the podium giving an impromptu speech.

He said many people in the Upper South East had no objections to wind farms and the new rules, referring to a proposed development 15 kilometres north of Naracoorte.

“Maybe the Lower South East does not welcome the wind farms, we in the Upper South East do welcome the wind farms and I think the legislation proposed at the present is a step in the right direction,” he said.

However, Mount Gambier resident Thomas Rymill offered similar sentiment to other opponents, likening the treatment of regional South Australians to second class citizens.

“If we can put these things near farms, why can’t we put them in Adelaide?

“There’s a huge amount of parklands there. If they’re no harm to farmers, why are they any harm to the citizens of Adelaide?” he asked.

Naracoorte farmer Lee Castine said representation at the meeting did not reflect the opinions of people of the Upper South East.

“I think most farmers are apathetic about it, it seems to be the noisy minority that have a lot to say about the Allendale East situation.

“I say bring on the wind towers, I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

Don Pegler, Member for Mount Gambier, was expected to attend the meeting, but wasn’t present along with other no shows from the region who had put forward submissions.

Public meetings in Port Wakefield and Peterborough are yet to be heard before the Development Policy Advisory Committee prepares a report for Minister John Rau.