The battle against wind farms continues to be a lonely road for Moyne Shire councillor Jim Doukas.
At the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Cr Doukas failed to gain support for his stance on wind farms in the shire.
The outspoken councillor called on the council to accept an acoustics report on the giant Macarthur wind farm, prepared for nearby residents by sound expert Les Huson.
Cr Doukas said the report found major flaws in two peer reviews commissioned by the council into the noise generated by the development.
He was supported with presentations by three members of the Macarthur community – Ron Jelbart, Ann Gardner and Jan Hetherington – who also expressed their disappointment at the peer reviews.
They claimed the peer reviews failed to address concerns that noise testing was not carried out within 10 metres of houses and that batteries went flat on monitoring equipment, affecting the accuracy of readings.
Cr Doukas’ recommendation was defeated with no support from his five fellow councillors.
Cr Anthony Keane raised the ire of Cr Doukas when he put forward his own theories on some of the areas of concern.
“We continually talk about batteries going flat and so forth, how do we know that the people with the monitors on their properties aren’t tampering with the batteries?” Cr Keane asked.
“And talk about being within 10 metres of the property, I would have thought the further away from the turbine, the less noise there is, so it would be more practical to have it close to the turbine. It’s only a guideline and not a written law.”
In response, Cr Doukas said the 10-metre rule was a permit condition for the wind farm and to suggest it was only a guideline was an act of ignorance.
But Cr Keane was to be Cr Doukas’ only ally, with the pair voting against granting an extension on a planning permit for the Salt Creek wind farm project.
Trust Power was first granted a permit for the 10 to 15-turbine wind farm, south of Woorndoo, in June 2007.
The permit was set to expire in March next year but councillors agreed to extend it to March 2018.
Speaking in favour of the extension, Cr Ralph Leutton said the council needed to send signals that it was “open for business”.
Cr Doukas was quickly on the attack: “To grant an extension treats the people of Woorndoo and the rest of the shire that has to deal with wind farm applications with contempt.
“Destroying everyone’s livelihood and putting a blight on the landscape and having a permit shoved in your face and wait for the day it might happen – you call that open for business?”
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