March 23, 2015

Council to issue permit for construction of 63 turbine Bulgana wind farm

By BEN KIMBER | The Stawell Times-News | March 23, 2015 |

Northern Grampians Shire Council has resolved to issue a permit for development of the Bulgana wind farm.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of a motion to issue the permit to allow construction of the 63 turbine wind farm in the Bulgana/Great Western area, at a special meeting of council in Stawell, on Monday.

Mayor, Cr Murray Emerson said the decision was made after an exhaustive process where all objections received were thoroughly considered.

“Council takes its role as a responsible authority very seriously. We have looked carefully at all the issues raised and resolved to issue the permit with a number of conditions attached,” he said.

“We undertook site visits and a number of briefings prior to a decision being made and gathered as much information and documentation as we possibly could.

“All of this was considered in great detail in the lead up to Council’s decision.”

Cr Wayne Rice moved the motion in support of the planning permit application.

He said he was satisfied with the outcome of various investigations into potential flora, fauna and native vegetation impacts, noise impacts and the possibility of health impacts.

“I didn’t see anything new in any of these objections that would make me believe that this project should not go ahead,” he said.

“When we look at the economic benefits of what this could bring towards the Northern Grampians Shire I think we can not dismiss this.”

“I think the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages and I am happy to support it.”

Cr Rice said the Bulgana wind farm has the potential to create between 300 and 400 jobs in the construction phase and maintain 15 to 20 jobs in the long term.

Rising to speak in support of the motion, Cr Kevin Erwin said the Bulgana wind farm was the single biggest planning proposal he had encountered during his time as a councillor.

“This is by far the largest application that we have had into this municipality, probably the most complex as well,” he said.

“I’m comfortable that all the issues have been addressed and that plans will be put in place to make sure that the overall benefit is to the community and not a backward step.”

The permit will be granted to Bulgana Wind Farm Pty Ltd, an Australian subsidiary of global wind energy company Enerfin.

The proposal involves 63 individual turbines with between 2 MW and 4 MW capacity each and has a construction cost estimated at $465 million.

For more see Friday’s edition of the Stawell Times-News.

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