February 9, 2012

Turbine debate blows into town

Brendan Crabb, Kiama Independent, www.kiamaindependent.com.au 9 February 2012

Wind farms would impede Shellharbour City’s views and adversely affect its economic future, two councillors have argued.

Cr Paul Rankin has also labelled wind farm technology “unproven” and sought more solid research on any potential health issues.

Cr Rankin and Mayor Kellie Marsh submitted a Notice of Motion to Tuesday night’s council meeting.

They proposed that council oppose any attempt to erect wind farms or wind turbines within the Shellharbour LGA.

They also said the LGA’s unique features afforded a “pleasant and attractive amenity to its residents”, and that wind farms and wind turbines were not consistent with the city’s visual amenity.

Cr Rankin said he had been partially motivated to raise the issue given the amount of publicity surrounding the alleged effects of “Wind Turbine Syndrome”.

“The worry for us is wind farms are unproven technology,” he said.

“The people of Shellharbour really don’t want a wind farm stuck in the middle of a beautiful view.

“The jury is still out on the droning noises they make causing health issues.

“Some research is supporting that it causes health issues. We don’t want anything in place until the research is rock solid. We also want to protect the natural beauty of the area for tourists, with tourism being such an important industry for the region.”

Cr Rankin said he was not aware of any potential wind farms sites being considered within the city.

“But we don’t want to be left in the lurch, we want to make sure it’s covered,” he said. “We know it’s clean energy, but the aesthetics and noise – is it worth defacing Shellharbour for it?”

Australia’s Climate And Health Alliance (CAHA) last month refuted the existence of “Wind Turbine Syndrome”.

The Alliance, a coalition of 20 health care stakeholders released a statement regarding claims of adverse health effects associated with human exposure to wind turbines.

Based on advice from the organisation’s scientific advisory group, CAHA’s position was renewable energy generation such as wind power “provides a safe and healthy alternative to fossil fuels”.

“There is no credible peer reviewed scientific evidence that demonstrates a link between wind turbines and direct adverse health impacts in people living in proximity to them,” CAHA convenor Fiona Armstrong said.

Green Jobs Illawarra project manager Katrina Skellern said Regional Development Australia – Illawarra were currently discussing the role of wind farms with Wingecarribee Council, but had not yet done so with Shellharbour.

She said that the Office of Environment and Heritage had drawn up a detailed wind map, including Shellharbour, as part of the State Government’s Renewable Energy Precincts Project. The government’s new wind farm approval guidelines are on display until March 14.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye and the Illawarra Greens called on council to reject the “anti-wind farm propaganda peddled” by Cr Marsh.

Dr Kaye said the Greens wanted the council to support the massive employment opportunities that renewable energy manufacturing and development will bring to the local region.

“Mayor Marsh is squandering the chance for the creation of hundreds of new green jobs in the Shellharbour and Illawarra region,” he said.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/02/09/turbine-debate-blows-into-town/