King Island residents have rallied to form the No TasWind Committee in a bid to save their community from the large-scale wind farm proposed for their island.
A meeting run by concerned King Islanders last Thursday saw a turn-out of 75 residents from which the NoTas Wind Committee was elected.
The committee is made up of 10 members and their first aim will be to push for a democratic vote on the proposed 600-megawatt wind farm, expected to consist of between 195-250 wind turbines.
No TasWind Committee member Chris Porter said given the impact the TasWind Project would have on the community, a democratic vote run by the council was the only fair way to come to a decision on the next stage of the proposal.
“TasHydro has told us that the decision to move on to the next stage of the project will be determined by a survey, run by them,” Mr Porter said.
“If 60 per cent of the survey’s findings show that King Island residents are in favour of the project then the next stage of planning will go ahead.”
Mr Porter said the 60pc figure was not fair and the decision to move on to the next stage of the proposal should be determined by a democratic vote with a similar figure required for a referendum.
“Given the size of the TasWind project, the committee believe a 75pc majority is fairer,” he said.
TasWind Project director Tony Field said Hydro Tasmania believes 60pc support for the project moving to the feasibility stage was a fair measure.
“We are asking for the King Island community’s support to conduct a feasibility assessment of a wind farm concept,” he said. “This assessment will take around two years and cover a broad range of issues, including environmental, economic and social impact of the project.
“We are working with the community on providing as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision on whether to support the project proceeding to the feasibility stage.
“It is important to emphasise that Hydro Tasmania is seeking support for the feasibility study to be conducted and not for the wind farm to be built.”
Mr Field said Hydro Tasmania welcomed the opportunity to better understand the concerns held by the No TasWind Committee and the wider community in relation to the TasWind proposal.
“We continue to work with the community on the best way to measure support and have proposed an independent survey of all island residents and off-island landowners,” Mr Field said.
“We have agreed to defer the survey to June 2013 to give the community enough time to make its decision, and to provide the greatest possible amount of information before the community is asked to decide.
“TasWind will not proceed if the community does not support the proposal at any of the approval points.”
The NoTas Wind Committee will hold its next meeting on April 18 and will aim to provide what it believes is accurate information about the issues associated with wind farms to the community.
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