May 8, 2019

Farmers call on Acciona to halt Mortlake South Windfarm development

Rob Gunstone | The Standard | May 8 2019 |

Angry farmers have called for a moratorium on the Mortlake South Windfarm until the developer Acciona improves its community consultation process.

Residents close to the development vented their frustrations during a community information session at Noorat Community Hall on Tuesday night.

More than 100 residents from Terang, Noorat, Kolora and Mortlake attended the event with many people wanting their concerns addressed. Key concerns for residents included traffic movement and road surfaces during the construction phase, where to take noise complaints once the project was started, and what was being done to mitigate bushfire risk around the towers.

Decommissioning the windfarm after 25 years was a hot topic.

Acciona Energy general manager engineering Dan Belton admitted the windfarm developer needed to do a better job communicating with residents affected by the Mortlake South Windfarm.

“We acknowledge we are working within your community and that you are trying to work the land within your community,” Mr Belton said.

“As much as we can, we will try and work around your needs and your requirements.

“We are open to feedback on how we can do better.

“It sounds like maybe we can do a better job consulting not just with the people whose land we are working, but with their neighbours’ land as well.

“That is definitely feedback we will take on board.”

Information session organiser Geraldine Conheady said the event was planned to help locals understand the windfarm development’s impact.

“Acciona have to pick their feet up on communication,” Mrs Conheady said.

“It’s pretty clear that their communication has been weak.”

Mortlake South Windfarm project director Andrew Tshaikwsky said Acciona was going to take the feedback about the lack of community consultation onboard.

“We are keen to take the opportunity to engage with the community to help allay fears, answer questions and explain where the project development is at,” Mr Tshaikwsky said.

“There are a number of channels to engage the community, but if the community says they are not getting all of the information, or not getting it regularly enough, then we need to take that on board and act on.”

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