DON’T FILL THE GAP
Stony Gap Wind Farm likely to exceed noise guidelines
Application to go before Goyder’s Development Panel Soon
In the planning process for many years, TRUenergy’s STONY GAP Wind Farm will go to the Regional Council of Goyder’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) on May 9, 2012.
Due to the amount of interest in this application, the Regional Council of Goyder has taken the unusual step of holding this DAP meeting in the Burra Town Hall.
“This project will encroach on Burra’s doorstep,” according to Chairperson of the group STOP INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES, Ally Fricker. “Yet many Burra residents still don’t know it’s happening,” she said.
The STONY GAP project is the first application from a proponent to go to local government under new Development Plan rules introduced by Minister Rau in October last year.
Ally Fricker said, “We have found many of the documents that make up TRUenergy’s application to be very poor; particularly, the environmental and noise reports.
“We believe the application reflects the company’s confidence as a result of the radical changes to the Development Plan and is an arrogant gesture towards the industry’s critics and near- neighbours to the project.”
Goyder Council’s CEO John Brak has decided not to forward to the DAP the many representations sent to council about the project from non-neighbours.
“This is in contrast to former Planning Officer Chris Gosling who did forward representations made to TRUenergy’s application to extend the permit for a wind monitoring mast near Robertstown,” Ally Fricker said. “This application is also before council, and, like the STONY GAP project, is now defined as a Category 2 development, whereas, prior to the Development Plan changes, they would both have been Category 3 developments.
“Legal opinion we have received suggests that Council could choose to forward these representations to the DAP.
“It is not good governance to disallow residents the opportunity to present their views. The new rules are a serious erosion of our rights without this additional gag,” she said.
Ally Fricker and Bob Lamb, together with several Stony Gap residents, commissioned a professional assessment of the company’s Marshall-Day noise prediction report for the STONY GAP project.
Professor Colin Hansen, an expert in acoustics, sound and vibration control, prepared the review. In his conclusion he said, “… it is highly likely that noise levels produced by the wind farm at residential locations will exceed those recommended as maximum allowable by the SA guidelines…”
Professor Hansen also said that because TRUenergy has not yet decided on the turbine layout or the turbine size that, “… development approval should not be considered until the final turbine size and layout are decided upon.”
Ally Fricker said, “The government agencies charged with protecting the natural environment have totally failed to do so at Stony Gap.
“This area is a crucial buffer and wildlife corridor to the vitally important conservation areas in the Tothill Range. TRUenergy has, only in the past few days, finally, referred the project to the federal government under its EPBC (Environment Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation) Act. The company’s claim that critically endangered flora is not of a sufficiently high status to require protection and that fauna will be protected cannot be supported when the scale of earth works and fragmentation to habitats required for the 41 turbines, a substation and 25km of high voltage gridline are considered.”
The response to this referral will not be available until the day following the May 9 DAP meeting.
SWIT considers that, in spite of the savaging of the Development Plan by the recent changes relating to wind farms, there are still sufficient sections within the Development Plan which allow the DAP to oppose the STONY GAP Wind Farm development application. SWIT calls on Goyder’s DAP to do just that.
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