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Fight against neighbours and 63 more proposed turbines  

Credit:  Crookwell Gazette | Nov. 7, 2013 | www.crookwellgazette.com.au ~~

Prominent anti-wind farm activist Tony Hodgson has threatened to sue his Collector neighbours should they become turbine hosts as part of a proposed wind farm in the small community north of Canberra.

Hodgson, a businessman who co-founded insolvency specialist Ferrier Hodgson, has lately turned his attention to fighting the proposed development of a 63-turbine wind farm at Collector, about 30km west of Goulburn, and 2km from Hodgson’s recently purchased rural getaway in the Upper Lachlan.

To this end, Hodgson founded the purpose-built ant-wind group, Friends of Collector, of which he is president. He is also a board member of the national anti-wind group Waubra Foundation.

RATCH-Australia’s proposal for the Collector Wind Farm was referred to the Planning Assessment Commission by the NSW Department of Planning late last month, with the recommendation it be approved. The commission held a meeting in Collector last Tuesday to hear from the public.

But the Canberra Times reports that last week, lawyers acting for Hodgson sent a letter to eight local landholders who were considered likely host a turbine, claiming precedent for legal action due to the anticipation “that the operation of the wind farm will have substantial and actionable adverse affects upon our Client”.

“By leasing your land to accommodate wind turbines, you authorise the nuisance that is likely to result from the noise emitted by the operation of those turbines and you can be held liable in respect of the entirety of the damage sustained by those affected by the nuisance, including any personal injury that materialises,” the letter said.

The letter also warned that the granting of development approval would not be a defence against possible legal action and recommended that recipients seek legal advice.

“The installation of those wind turbines will cause a nuisance on my property and you’re not allowed to do that,” Hodgson said in the Canberra Times.

“It’s already quite clear that just the notion that there’s potentially wind turbines on my property or the adjoining properties … leads to a substantial diminution in value of the property of at least 35 per cent and in some cases 60 per cent.

“This isn’t a threat, this is a promise. You put those things up, I will sue you. There’s not much to discuss.”

Hodgson, who once described Genghis Khan as “a bit of a piker”, said this was the second such letter his lawyers had sent in two years, but he had received no response.

He said he would take his lawyers’ advice should the wind farm be approved, but would not comment on any possible legal action against the company proposing to build the wind farm, RATCH-Australia.

The prospect of a wind farm in Collector has divided the community since its announcement last October, even transforming the annual Collector Pumpkin Festival into a battleground for the wind energy wars.

Source Canberra Times

Divided community

Divided community

Other farmers in the region disagree with the lobby group and are urging the Planning Assessment Commission to make a swift determination.

Local wool producer Gary Poile says he is eager to host up to five of the proposed turbines on his farming land.

“It has been one of the most drawn out approval processes you could get,” he said.

“I think it has taken something like four years to get to this stage. There has been plenty of time for everybody to put their comments on the table.

“I think most people in Collector would just like to see it over and done with one way or the other and make their minds up yes or no.

“Put us out of our misery.”

Hodgson and Poile both addressed the commission’s meeting in Collector, which was extended to a second day due to the 41 submissions being made by groups and individuals, including anti-wind farm activist Sarah Laurie from the Waubra Foundation, which is based in South Australia.

Project update for the Gullen Range wind farm

Project update for the Gullen Range wind farm

THE construction program at GRWF is progressing with significant milestones being achieved. The final foundation was poured September 26 which, along with the completion of almost all the onsite roads, means that the civil works involved on the project are now largely complete. This means that construction traffic will reduce significantly.

The switchyard for the project which connects the project to the TransGrid transmission network is now complete with the contractors (UGL) now demobilising from the site. This is a significant achievement which allows the project to export green energy to customers on the network.

The delivery of the components will be extended to a further 10 weeks. As with the current delivery schedules, all loads will be carried through in the early hours and under Police escort to ensure minimal disruption to the local communities of Goulburn and Upper Lachlan Shire.

Goldwind would like to thank the communities surrounding Gullen Range Wind Farm for their ongoing patience and support during the project.

Wind farm making the most of local workforce

Wind farm making the most of local workforce

Locals are getting the lion’s share of the jobs on the construction phase of the Gullen Range Wind Farm.

Goldwind Australia’s project manager Ben Bateman said wherever possible we have tapped into the region’s skilled and unskilled local work force.

“Seventy per cent of our team constructing the Gullen Range Wind Farm comes from the local area.

We’ve got local crane operators, truck drivers, electricians, labourers and others. A lot of these blokes know each other from around the traps.”

Mr Jock Shutzendorff, who lives just out of Goulburn, is one local who was saw the opportunity and went knocking on Goldwind’s door.

“I spent 15 years operating heavy machinery but now I am the Quality and Logistics Coordinator for the Gullen Range Wind Farm. It’s been a big learning curve and I’m learning something new most days.

“A typical day for me includes taking delivery of parts of the wind turbines, inventory and some computer work.

“We’ve got a wide range of jobs, from managers, engineers, office staff, OH&S, electricians, and other subcontractors such as fitters, crane drivers, riggers and earthmoving.”

Crookwell crane operator Mr Adrian Baty is another local who saw the opportunity to get involed in the project.

“Working on the wind farm has given me a steady income and a chance to get more experience of this growing industry so I can get more work later,” he said.

Mr Shutzendorff agrees: “There are a lot of wind farms in the region, it is a windy place. Wind farms are a good source of employment.”

Mr Bateman said the wind farm construction is progressing very well with construction, commissioning and testing to be completed by mid 2014 providing jobs to locals in their own community and injecting cash back to the region. The project also includes almost $6m in upgrades to local roads.

Source:  Crookwell Gazette | Nov. 7, 2013 | www.crookwellgazette.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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