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Hawkesdale meeting blows against more wind farms

Government officials were left in no doubt about strong opposition to wind farms planned for Hawkesdale and surrounding areas after a community meeting in the town on Wednesday.

Officials from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the National Wind Farm Commissioner Andrew Dyer were peppered with hostile questions from the crowd of about 110 people.

The crowd included people with long-standing concerns about wind farms beyond the Hawkesdale and surrounding area where nearly 200 more are either planned or proposed to add to the 140 existing at Macarthur.

The meeting erupted in jeers when Mr Dyer told a Cape Bridgewater landowner she should move from her property if she was not comfortable with the noise caused by a wind turbine that was less than one kilometre from her house.

Mr Dyer said while wind farms now had to be set back at least one kilometre from houses, it was the turbines’ noise levels that were the real determinant of the distance setback.

DELWP statutory planning executive director Janet Homewood said it was apparent that some community members believed that using 40 decibels as the limit was not adequate.

Jacinta Coffey, who lives near the wind farm planned for Ryan Corner north of Port Fairy, said the community had been told wind farm companies would drop wind farm proposals if there was community opposition.

“How about you pull out,” she said.

She believed the Hawkesdale and surrounding areas already had enough wind turbines and were attracting more because they had the infrastructure that allowed wind farms to cheaply connect to the national grid, she said,

Liana Blake said the planned Hawkesdale wind farm would put a turbine 1.1km from her house.

She said the wind farms “were wrecking people”s lives” and she was distraught about having turbines so close.