Locals are vowing to fight a second attempt to construct the Jupiter Wind Farm between Canberra and Goulburn, which would be one of the largest in New South Wales.
This week, hundreds of residents attended a public forum held by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment at Tarago, and many said they were angered by a lack of consultation over the $300 million project.
An environmental impact statement by wind power company EPYC was rejected by the department last year, partly due to a lack of engagement with the community.
“We asked them to go away and improve and strengthen their consultation with the local community,” the department’s director of resource assessments Mike Young said.
“They have done a number of things in the last 12 months to improve that.”
The wind farm would be one of the largest in New South Wales, consisting of 88 turbines each standing at 173 metres tall.
“You’re looking at 30 metres higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” Mr Young said.
There are 62 homes within two kilometres of the proposed site and 138 houses within three kilometres of it – some will see the turbines from several sides of their properties.
The department says projects usually impact about 20 homes.
Residents concerned about views, property values
Some residents fear their house prices will plummet it the project goes ahead and they still feel there’s been a lack of consultation.
“It’s taken four years for the department to come here and hold a meeting,” resident Tony Hill told the ABC.
“After four years of waiting it’s too little too late.”
Paul Fitzgerald moved his four children to the region to take advantage of the views and now fears that will be gone.
“It’s shocking,” he said.
“It’s hard to get our head around the impact that it’s going to have.”
While the majority of residents at the public meeting oppose the project, several locals who will be paid to host the turbines on their properties had come on board.
Complicated approval process
EPYC said in statement it had engaged with the community since 2014.
“Our current proposal was revised as a result of consulting with the community,” the statement read.
“Where there are legitimate concerns regarding visual amenity, we will seek to manage this via mitigation in consultation with the landowner.”
The NSW Government will weigh up environmental, social, and economic impacts and suitability of the site when considering whether to approve the project.
“This is a complicated process,” Mr Young said.
“We take our job very seriously there’s a lot of things to weigh up.”
Public submissions on the proposal are open until February 15.
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