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Residents voice windfarm fears

Up to 800 ibis slashed to death annually, data from broken noise monitors, windfarm noise, spooked livestock, plummeting land values, health problems a nd picturesque views destroyed.

These were some of the continuing issues raised at the Wattle Range Council Development Assessment Panel’s meeting this week regarding Infigen Energy’s proposed Woakwine Windfarm.

Speaker after speaker said Infigen Energy had failed to discuss or address their concerns and asked who would compensate them – council or Infigen?

Infigen Energy’s claims there had been no health problems from the Lake Bonney wind farm were challenged by beef producer David Mortimer, who revealed his health problems.

Similarly, Infigen’s claims it bad discussions and resolved issues with Millicent farmer John Mullins concerning his ibis rookery were also called into doubt.

Mr Mullins highlighted various report recommendations urging turbines to be kept away from Mullins Swap.

One report, unavailable to the public, indicated 60 to 120 birds would be killed annually from a flock of3000 ibis.

“The Mullins Swamp rookery has 30,000 to 40,000 birds,” Mr Mullins said.

“We are looking at 400 to 800 birds to be lost annually and that would be compounded annually because many of them will be feeding adults, and their young will die.”

Mr Mullins slammed Infigen’s claims the issues were resolved and encouraged DAP members to read Infigen’s report which suggested “habitat modification”, indicating that meant “moving the swamp”.

Retired farmer Graham Butterworth hoped to continue a peaceful retirement in his home of 65 years, despite a life-threatening illness.

But with turbines earmarked up to one kilometre from his home, Mr Butterworth said he was now faced with noisy and possible health threatening wind turbines as neighbours.

Concerned about shadow nicker from turbine blades, roads, noise and vibrations, he also worried about mobile phone and wireless internet coverage.

“The Infigen Energy Environmental Assessment has indicated that telecommunications will be affected by the development,” he said.

His neighbour Kristine Huppatz revealed a noise monitor had been placed on her property without permission or consultation about what it was for.

The device had fallen over and broken soon after it was installed, and she was told she could not access the findings of the data collected, even though it would be wrong.

Mrs Huppatz said she agreed with everything presented by Mr Butterworth and had “all of the same concerns”.

Wagyu producer Scott de Bruin said when out in the paddock working and the wind was blowing in a certain direction, “it sounds like a car coming up behind you”.

“You keep turning and looking over your shoulder because you think someone is coming, but. no one is coming/’ Mr De Bruin said.

He said just like people, livestock were affected by the sound and vibration of the turbines, and sometimes his high value animals were “spooked”.

“When you are looking at one it isn’t too bad from an aesthetic point of view, but when you are looking at 250, it just ruins the skyline.”

Wattle Range Council Development Assessment Panel (DAPJ yesterday deferred its decision on whether or not Infigen Energy could establish its proposed Woakwine Windfarm.

The DAP will meet. again on Thursday.