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It’s a noisy debate

Job creation will be weighed up against noise creation as Oberon Council considers its reaction to a proposed windfarm in the shire.

The windfarm – at Paling Yards, south of Oberon – will cost more than $280 million to build and will feature 55 wind turbines.

The maximum blade tip height will be 175 metres and the total installed capacity will be approximately 178MW.

“Although it is in an isolated area, my main concerns will be the visual impact on neighbours and also the noise impact,” Oberon mayor John McMahon said.

“I’ve got to be assured that this development doesn’t have a detrimental affect on next-door neighbours.”

Renewable energy company Union Fenosa Wind Australia is behind the proposed windfarm, which has an environmental impact statement on public display.

Cr McMahon said a project of this size is determined by the state government, not the local council, but Oberon Council will look closely at all the submissions opposing the proposed facility.

Union Fenosa Wind Australia says 65 jobs will be created in the construction of the facility and 11 people will be employed to maintain the windfarm.

Cr McMahon acknowledged there could be benefits for the region.

“There’d be a few people employed in the construction stage of the windfarm, so I guess the closest place for them to stay would be in Oberon,” he said.

“There’d be a boost to the economy in the way of accommodation, eateries and supplies.

“I’m also hoping the company employ local contractors for the infrastructure works, as in access roads, etc.”

The public exhibition period – which extends until Friday, May 30 – is an opportunity for the community to comment on the proposal.

During the public exhibition period, members of the community and government agencies can make submissions in support of, or against, the proposed development.

Union Fenosa Wind Australia has written to all residents within 10km of the project proposal to advise them of the location of the exhibition documents, and to give them details about the submission process.

Community members wanting to make a submission should follow the instructions described on the DPI Major Projects website at www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au, using the search functions on that site to find “Paling Yards”.

Information about the project proposal is also available on Union Fenosa Wind Australia’s website www.unionfenosa.com.au.

A landscape and visual impact assessment report and an environmental assessment report are available on the DPI website. Copies of the environmental impact statement may be viewed at Oberon Council or Oberon Library.