Sixth-generation woolgrower and gallery owner Peter Crisp says he has been left high, dry and stupefied by the lack of consultation and choice about the wind farm being planned next door.
He says the Epuron 134-turbine Yass Valley Wind Farm south of Canberra is set to send the value of his 800ha “life’s work” down by as much as 60 per cent, while sucking up subsidies at a rate of more than $600,000 per turbine each year.
“The project would cover potentially 14sq km, the turbines are 157m high – the largest ever placed in rural Australia. They normally put those out in the North Sea,” Mr Crisp told The Australian. “It’s a fine line whether you’re for them or against but in our case they are of great concern.
“Five years ago, the Arnott family down at Boorowa commissioned an independent land assessor to look at land values that have been affected by wind turbines over the last five years within this region, and that clearly proves … the visual effect they have on the landscape will cause a 30 to 60 per cent drop in land values.
“The other concern is that no bank or lending institution will guarantee that they will lend money against our assets now.
“Our life’s work has truly gone into this; some people have invested their whole superannuation into their properties – in our case it is our only major asset base and it could be extinguished.”
As well as financial ramifications, what “really caused distress” to Mr Crisp was the attitude of NSW Department of Planning when representatives visited him in September.
A bureaucrat “quite happily sat here and said, ‘I couldn’t care less whether your land values drop 30 to 60 per cent’,” said Mr Crisp, who says he has written, without reply, to Premier Mike Baird.
“It’s a purely dogmatic approach from government which is: you will have this whether you like it or not – we couldn’t care less if your land values drops.”
Mr Crisp said given hundred of landowners in the region had complained, the “voice of rural” Australia was being ignored.
A spokesman for the Department of Planning and Environment said it was “finalising its assessment of this proposal” as part of its consultation, which began in 2009.
“The department has undertaken inspections of the site and surrounds, and has met a number of concerned residents in the area,” he said. “Once its assessment is finalised, (it) will refer the proposal to the independent NSW Planning Assessment Commission for determination.”
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