Residents living in Great Western are concerned with the possible impacts of a proposed wind farm at Bulgana.
Jenny Holmes said the wind farm proposal was set to be discussed by the Northern Grampians Shire Council in December.
“If the permit is granted, as we suspect it will be, the township of Great Western will be seriously impacted,” Mrs Holmes said.
“A wind farm with turbines some 3.8 kilometres from the township will obviously affect property values as well as create an unacceptable level of noise which includes infrasound as well as low-frequency noise known to cause serious health issues to people living near wind turbines.
“Nobody is going to want to purchase property in such close proximity to a wind farm.
“Ultimately, this wind farm is likely to affect the viability of the Great Western school.”
Mrs Holmes said what concerned her the most was the fact that people living in Great Western proper, as well as surrounding landowners, appeared unaware of the impact the wind farm would have on their quality of life as they know it.
“There will be massive towers of over 190 metres in height dotting a once pristine landscape,” she said.
“These towers could seriously interfere with television, radio and internet transmissions as well as communications for emergency services.”
Mrs Holmes said she would be directly affected as she is particularly sensitive to low-frequency noise.
She is also concerned about the impact the turbines could have on birds and bats.
” I estimate the figure for birds alone (to be slaughtered by the turbines) to be within 600 to 700. Bats are, of course, an unknown quantity due to a thing called barotrauma which is caused by air pressure fluctuations. This has a direct affect on the bat’s respiratory system and they may not necessarily die below a turbine. Rather they die elsewhere.”
Bulgana farmer, Kris McMillan said she to had concernes over the proposal.
“If this Wind Farm goes ahead, as the Northern Grampians Shire is stating it should, it will destroy more than half a century of restoration and conservation works carried out in the Six Mile Catchment which has cost in the vicinity of $25 million,” Mrs McMillan said.
“The shire seem to be oblivious to the fact that the soil in this catchment is the most fragile in the state and expert soil conservation personnel have advised continuously for many years that the soil must remain undisturbed.”
Mrs McMillan said she took salt readings on the Six Mile Creek and Wimera River between 1992 and 1998 which showed salt levels flowing into the Wimmera River were reduced by 13,000 parts per million.
“This significant reduction has been achieved as a result of the considerable erosion repair works and tree planting works carried out in the catchment,” she said.
“The damage caused by the IWEF soil disturbances will ensure salt levels flowing into the Wimmera River will drastically rise.
“The proponent is intending to install a total of 53 kilometres of access tracks at least six metres wide, as well as 47 kilometres of underground cables and turbine pads 60m x 60m and crane pads 50m x 60m. All of this disturbance will lead to widespread erosion.”
Mrs McMillan said she also had concerns that proposed road upgrades would most likely be paid for by Northern Grampians Shire ratepayers.
“Due to the secrecy exercised by the proponent and the Northern Grampians Shire, residents of Great Western and surrounds have no idea what is about to befall them if this planning permit is granted,” she said.
“They have no idea that the Wind Farm Site is to come within 100 metres of the town boundary. They have no idea of the health problems many people living near turbines in other parts of the state are suffering.
“They are unaware that if the proposal goes ahead and they happen to be amongst the people who do suffer health impacts, that they more than likely will not be able to sell their home and if they are lucky enough to find someone who will buy, the sale price will be reduced by up to half the homes original value pre turbines.”
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