Opposition to a $400-million wind farm proposed for Tarago near Lake George is expected to escalate once a protest committee is formally established next Tuesday.
More than 200 people packed the village’s community hall to overflowing on Sunday to vent their objections to the Jupiter Wind Farm proposal that has been put forward by EPYC, an Australian and Spanish joint venture.
They are concerned about the visual impact, the possible threat to bird life, increased traffic on back country roads and believe property values have already suffered.
Leonie Martin, a Tarago resident and Canberra public servant, was one of the organisers of Sunday’s meeting.
”I think the town has had enough,” she said. ”We are already taking Sydney’s toxic waste and landfill and now it is the wind farm.”
A second meeting is to be held next Tuesday. ”The next step is to formalise our group,” Ms Martin said. ”Not one person at [Sunday’s] meeting was ‘for’ the wind farm.”
To be located 14 kilometres east of Lake George, it is believed the farm could have as many as 110 towers, each about 110 metres high with three 63-metre-long rotor blades.
Tarago’s Woodlawn mine is already home to the Veolia Bioreactor and much of Sydney’s landfill waste is being dumped into the immense void as well.
Exploratory drilling for possible new mining is taking place on the Cullulla Road. Originally a gold town, Tarago has reserves of zinc, lead, copper and silver.
Speakers at Sunday’s meeting, also attended by local MPs, Pru Goward (Goulburn) and Angus Taylor (Hume), were highly critical of EPYC’s community consultation to date.
A company spokeswoman rejected this, saying the company had gone above and beyond its consultation obligations.
”We began sending out information packs (184 in total) back in 2012,” she said. ”We didn’t need to do that but wanted to be as open and transparent as possible.”
Ms Martin said the circulation of the information packs had been spotty at best and the information provided was next to useless.
”It was very vague, just general information on wind farms a child might use in a school report.”
The EPYC spokeswoman said Tarago residents appeared to misunderstand just how far advanced the proposal was and the information packs related to early evaluation stages. ”Until plans are finalised, it is difficult to talk about locations and numbers,” she said.
EPYC has spent much of the past two years evaluating the area and fine-tuning its proposal. The spokeswoman said that, when available, information will be shared through information days and other means.
”We will certainly be complying with all the mandated community consultation requirements.”
Community divisions have already begun to emerge with winners and losers the most likely result.
Under the proposal, the towers would be erected on land owned by 25 different landholders each of whom, Sunday’s meeting was told, would receive $10,000 per year per tower.
If a total of 110 towers are built this works out at $1.1 million per year. If signed off, the wind farm could be up and running as early as 2016.
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