Three gleaming wind turbines on the roof of the new Stockland Shellharbour shopping centre aren’t enough to change Shellharbour Mayor Kellie Marsh’s mind on a council policy which is against having more of them.
The city’s Liberal councillors were left in a spin in February when they found out about the turbines, which are now clearly visible above the new shopping centre car park.
Just one week earlier, Cr Marsh had used her casting vote at a fiery council meeting to pass a motion that commercial wind farms and turbines were more than likely to detract from the ‘‘economic and social benefits of the community’’ and were ‘‘not consistent with the visual amenity of Shellharbour’’.
In a split decision, the council agreed to oppose in principle any wind farm developments in the city.
Cr Marsh this week said she stood by the policy, which targeted wind farms, and submitted that the Stockland turbines were not too intrusive. She also said she supported solar power.
‘‘This is not a 20-foot monstrosity of concrete that’s totally not befitting with the landscape,’’ she said.
The turbines are smaller vertical axis models, rather than the well-known windmill-style design.
However, independent councillor Peter Moran criticised the mayor over the council policy.
‘‘I really cannot believe that [Cr Marsh] had the hide to go out and open a facility there knowing that there were wind turbines on the roof, given her stated opinion on them,’’ Cr Moran said.
He said the motion had made the council look ‘‘silly’’, but it did not have ‘‘any real impact’’.
Both councillors welcomed green initiatives at the shopping centre, which attracted a stampede of visitors when the first stage of its $330million redevelopment opened last week.
Stockland Shellharbour will eventually feature three turbines, a tri-generation system and 7000sqm of solar panels that when combined will meet about one-third of the centre’s energy needs.
It is understood the turbines are yet to be connected.
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