Objectors to the Bulgana wind farm haven’t ruled out referring the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Bulgana land owner Kris McMillan said she was disappointed by Northern Grampians Shire Council’s resolution to issue a permit for construction of the 63 turbine wind farm.
“I think we are all a bit gob smacked by this decision,” Mrs McMillan said.
“Council hasn’t listened to any of our concerns.
“We thought in view of the Environmental Significance Overlay that council would have conducted more thorough investigations into land degradation.”
Mrs McMillan said the nearest wind turbine will be 2.1 kilometres from her family’s property and that erosion remains their biggest concern.
“Our family has lived in this area since 1958 and our biggest concern was basically the erosion coming from the hills where some of these turbines are proposed,” she said.
“The government has spent millions of dollars on erosion control as the soil in this catchment has been ranked among the most fragile in the state.
“We are not against wind farms, but this catchment is not fit for the development of a wind energy facility and it should never be built here.”
Cr Wayne Rice defended the decision by council to resolve to issue the planning permit.
“There has been discussions on just about every wind farm that has ever been started up in this country,” he said.
“People have objected to things such as noise, but yet there is no scientific evidence to show that noise will have adverse health impacts on people.
“The experts aren’t ruling it out, but they’re also saying there is no scientific evidence.
“I’m satisfied that the amount of work required to investigate this matter thoroughly has been done.”
Mayor, Cr Murray Emerson said subject to the permit there are 61 conditions the proponent has to abide by.
“I would like to commend the people who have written in, both favourably and against the proposal,” he said.
“Some of the people obviously spent a great deal of time preparing the information they’ve provided to the council, both for and against the wind farm proposal.
“It has been a pretty difficult decision, but I am of the opinion that the reasons to support the wind farm proposal are greater than those to refuse it.”
Cr Rice said the benefits of the Bulgana wind farm would stretch far beyond current generations.
“That’s the whole point of alternative energy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“We have all been told that global warming is harming our planet and it is not only our planet as we stand here today, it is the planet for the children of the future.
“So we should be doing our little bit to try and reduce greenhouse gases and that’s what this wind farm will do.”
Cr Merrilee Reid said she supported the motion as the wind farm technology combats greenhouse gas emissions.
“My biggest plus for these wind farms and anything to do with renewable energy, is that they address greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
“If I can see any way of doing that with renewable energy, I am only too happy to encourage it.”
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