Ted McIntosh has based his aerial fertilising business, Yass Air Proprietary Limited, out of his Black Range Road property since 1975. He has now found out, through a newsletter, that his airstrip will be situated “not three kilometres” from the 152 proposed turbines. This is inside the likely aerial exclusion zone, which Mr McIntosh says will be at least six kilometres, and will close down his runway, preventing him from flying his two aircraft.
“I found out about it because we got this [newsletter] in the mail, that’s the first we heard about it. That’s when I realised that I better do something about this turbulence. Of course I didn’t get very far there because nobody has ever had an investigation in Australia into wake-turbulence effects from wind farms because there haven’t been that many built so far.
“I first went to the council when this was talked about years ago and the council invited all the ratepayers to come in and have a look as to how the wind towers would affect their properties.
“I went in and had a look and there were about half a dozen blades taken from certain spots along the Black Range Road. I thought half a dozen wind towers that’s nothing, I didn’t expect to see 152, did I?”
There is no such thing as good timing for this to happen but it doesn’t get much worse than when you have had plans drawn up for the upgrade of the airstrip, he said.
“I believe in this airstrip so much that we’ve made plans to have it resurveyed and it would be the only two-way airstrip between here, Cootamundra, Goulburn and Tumut,” he said.
Asked if the wind farm would make these developments pointless, Mr McIntosh explained he was still hoping that there would be a reason to have it up and running by next summer.
“Not necessarily. I’m just hoping the state government will put a stop to all this until people can sit back and think. Obviously there’s been a great push to get these things up but it’s people like us, the sustainable farmers and also the farmers’ contractors, who lose our business.”
Mr McIntosh is not alone. Aerial contractor John Stokes also fears for himself and his clients.
“That’s the country that we spray and exclusion zones will prevent us from going anywhere near them. It’s not just our livelihood but the farmers as well who need that aerial support.”
Farmer Tony Medway uses both Mr McIntosh and Mr Stokes to maintain his ‘Garway’ property just outside of Dalton and says that without the aerial assistance his productivity would be significantly reduced.
“If [Ted McIntosh] goes, we wouldn’t be able to fertilise a lot of our country because a lot of our property is hilly terrain that is only accessible by air. We also get aerial spraying every year and I’d imagine that would come to an end too, so yeah there are a lot of serious concerns for us,” Mr Medway said.
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