Bad vibrations in the air as Macarthur residents fire up over wind farm
Credit: By SEAN McCOMISH | The Standard | Sept. 28, 2013 | www.standard.net.au ~~
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Translate: FROM English | TO English
There were tears, shouts of anger and allegations that wind turbines were affecting everything from dogs to property prices.
The chairs were all taken as close to 60 Macarthur district residents crowded into a local woolshed on Thursday night to voice anger against the giant wind farm they say is causing insomnia and a raft of other health problems.
Three Moyne Shire councillors sat solemnly behind a table listening to the complaints, which ranged from the heartfelt to the bizarre.
Residents are desperately trying to convince council and others that wind turbine sickness isn’t a psychological oddity as suggested by academics.
Neither the health community or the government say there is any evidence supporting their claims.
But at least a dozen people described waking up in the early hours suffering from vibrations and dizziness, which they claim is being caused by the giant AGL-operated wind energy plant near Macarthur.
It is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and has been fully operational since January this year.
Farmer Ron Jelbart said he regularly had to leave his home to sleep in Hamilton.
“Something is there that we cannot understand, that we cannot live with,” he said.
Resident Maria Linke made an emotional plea to councillors to take up their cause.
“I’ve got a family of six – we can hear the turbines over the television at normal volume,” she said.
“Don’t just fob us off to the state and federal government.”
The residents had two main demands – fund an acoustics study focusing solely on Macarthur’s three-megawatt turbines and complete a health report detailing the problems.
Jan Heathrington, the owner of a fine glass studio and property where the meeting was held, said she had spent thousands of dollars trying to prove infrasound – sub-audible noise – had increased, leading to headaches and nausea.
“I paid $10,000 for testing in my own home,” she said.
“I’m getting terribly impacted.
‘‘I wake up four or five times each night.
‘‘I’ll wake up with vibrations in my body and my eyes are wobbly.
“If you’re making good money out of the rates from the wind farm, can that money be used for independent testing?”
Mayor Jim Doukas, who managed to keep the room onside, promised that council officers would meet with residents and compile complaints into a report to take to council. But there was little support for an acoustics study.
Cr James Purcell said Moyne council risked duplicating a study planned by the federal Coalition into the health effects.
“I won’t spend thousands of dollars in council money – your rates – on something they’re going to do,” he said.
A representative for Wannon MP Dan Tehan said a study was among the first things Mr Tehan had raised in Canberra since the election.
Cr Doukas went as far to say that he didn’t personally like AGL.
The council is still trying to recover millions for damaged roads from the company.
“We’ve still got problems with AGL,” Cr Doukas said.
‘‘They’re not very nice people to deal with.’’
Concerns were also raised over three wind farms planned for Penshurst, Willatook and Hawkesdale.
The number of turbines operating in the region could surpass 600 if all three go ahead.
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