Upper Lachlan Council will largely support a petition signed by 461 people asking that it oppose the construction of the proposed Golspie wind farm.
After lengthy discussion at its last meeting, Council decided that it would express its support for the petition in principal and ask the State Government to decline the proposal as outlined by Wind Prospect in November 2011 “to the extent that it does not comply with Council’s Development Control Plan”
Councillors who opposed a move by Cr. Malcolm Barlow to give the blanket opposition sought by the petition pointed out that there was no Development Plan actually before Council or the Government.
The outline given by Wind Prospect last November was the only information Council had.
However, Council supported Cr. Barlow in his motion to advise the Government of the strong local opposition to the wind farm, and that the Shire already had six wind farm approved or operating with 237 turbines.
Cr. Sandra Bill gave strong support to this latter objection – “enough is enough,” she said.
Mr. Humphrey Price-Jones addressed Council in support of the petition.
He said the petition was signed by 181 residents from the Golspie area – “a significant proportion” of its population.
Mr. Price-Jones said only three people approached in the Golspie area had refused to sign the petition.
All but 52 of the signatories were Shire residents.
“Some were people who have moved here recently, and have stated they would not have done so if they had known of turbines proposed for the area,” Mr. Price-Jones added.
“Values of many properties will be seriously affected if this wind farm goes ahead.
“Many who supported this petition also signed the petition against the proposed north – south power line, and were disappointed Council did not support them on the grounds it did not have enough information.”
Mr. Price-Jones said whether there were to be 100 or 200 turbines was immaterial – “It will make a significant impact on the landscape.”
While Councillors were generally sympathetic with the petition’s aims, the request to bluntly ask the Government to reject the proposal was deemed impractical.
Cr. Mick Mayoh said power to approve rested with the State. “Our DCP is becoming increasingly accepted, and I think that it is the weapon we should use.”
He added that when Council adopted a 2 kilometre “set back” policy it was for a certain type of tower.
With the increased tower heights, there perhaps should be a ratio set to decide set-back distance.
“We could use this as a criteria which could have an effect in the future and justify our opposition.
“We can’t carry a motion to reject it altogether; we won’t get anywhere.”
Cr. Sandra Bill said it was not fair to brand local opposition as “not in my backyard” attitude.
“Upper Lachlan and the Southern Tablelands have been targeted; enough is enough and the people who signed the petition are saying enough is enough.’
“We need to start supporting this in a very real way.
“We can treat developments one by one or oppose all. There has been a change of attitude out there, and (the developers) are taking no notice of our DCP.”
Cr. Mike Coley said he could support the objection only to the extent it did not comply with Council’s DCP.
Cr. Paul Culhane supported this, as a blanket objection “would not be reasonable.”
Cr. James Wheelwright: “How reasonable would Council look without having a DA in front of us? Until we know it doesn’t comply with our DCP we’d look like idiots.”
Cr. Brian Moloney had declared an interest and left the Council before the final vote, but said he believed Cr. Coley was “on the right track.”
Finally Council agreed to advise the Government of the petition, with the inclusion that it opposed the development “insofar as it did not meet the requirements of the DCP.”
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