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Wellington wind farm polarises town

Wellington’s financial vulnerability was a hot top of discussion at the Bodangora wind turbine Planning Assessment Commission on Monday evening in Wellington.

More than 200 people attended the commission to witness 47 residents and local stakeholders discuss the good and the bad of the potential wind farms.

Former shire president and former mayor Campbell Gregory voiced his concern about Wellington’s financial wellbeing, discussing the funds that could go back into the town if the project was to be approved.

“Wellington’s long-term viability is vulnerable,” Mr Gregory said. “They have guaranteed employment of six people for the first 25 years, six new families in the Wellington area is a significant number.”

Mr Gregory discussed the potential of a big project such as the Bodangora Wind Farm and believes it’s an ideal opportunity.

“The bulk of the money will go back into the general region,” he said. “We haven’t had an opportunity like this since the Wellington jail.”

Mr Gregory was in a minority of speakers who supported the wind turbine project, a high percentage of speakers discussed potential health issues, flora and fauna damage, visual amenities and air navigation issues.

Bodangora Wind Turbine Awareness Group (BWTAG) member, Lyn Jarvis was pleased with the turn out of opposing residents.

“It’s a great turn out. We can’t control who gets up and talks,” she said.

“There’s obviously a common link with concerns about health and noise.”

Mrs Jarvis’ speech centred around the unresolved issues surrounding the project.

“It’s wrong on so many levels,” she said. “Health issues have been ignored, studies have been ignored, and the proponent (Infigen Energy) will not engage with the community.

“We’re not opposed to industrial development where it doesn’t impact on people’s lives.”

The Wellington Council has remained neutral on the project but released a statement saying they are looking out for the community.

“Council have remained in a proactive stance,” Mayor Rod Buhr said.

“The council wants to ensure the community is not disadvantaged by the development.”

Infigen development manager, Frank Boland was also pleased with the turn out.

“Hearing people’s views are important, I’ve always encouraged the public’s opinion,” Mr Boland said. “I encourage people to go out and see how good the site is.”