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Ryan’s Corner wind farm residents hear experiences from other turbine communities

Orford, Port Fairy and Yambuk residents who live near the upcoming Ryan Corner wind farm have heard stories and gathered advice from residents who have lived near operational wind farms.

A key issue guest speakers Pat Gabb and Dave Sweatman said was the need to hire an independent acoustician to complete a noise assessment before the installation of the 4.2 kilowatt wind turbines.

About 15 members of the community have already spent over $2400 to get the background noise tests with more expressing interest after the meeting.

Mrs Gabb, who lives close to the Stockyard Hill wind farm near Ballarat said the independent testing was the best insurance residents could get against the possible future noise disturbances caused by the turbines.

"If there's a noise problem, no one can dispute this test," she said.

Global Power Generation's $359,000,000 218 megawatt Ryan Corner wind farm is set for construction and will span a 52-turbine encompassing the areas from Yambuk, Toolong, Orford and the edge of Port Fairy.

Community members said the more people who could undertake an independent acoustician assessment meant there would be more leverage for residents in the event of noise problems once the turbines were installed. The group also said the data could help with keeping property values fair.

Moyne Shire councillors Jordan Lockett, Karen Foster, Damien Gleeson and Jim Doukas were present at the community consultation.

In their December meeting, councillors narrowly voted 4-3 to contract their own acoustician after Hawkesdale residents pushed for noise tests by developer Global Power Generation (GPG) be independently verified.

Throughout the evening, guest speakers from communities who had wind turbines installed across their landscape spoke about the effects on their lives.

Mrs Gabb has spent 16 years fighting the installation of turbines across western Victoria and gave advice on how residents could stay on top of the technical issues.

"We will not be able to live in our fifth generation home," she said.

"My sons work on the farm and I'm not sure if they can continue. We thought the wind turbines were going to be great, but then we started hearing things and we started questioning."

Mr Sweatman said the wind farms had destroyed his Dundonnell community.

"We've lost four families from our region because of the wind farms, it's decimated our community," he said.

"We are given all this money to spend for our community but there isn't one. We have two drivers of our firetrucks and if one's away, only one can go out.

Macarthur resident Sharon Muldoon said her community was naive on the implications of wind farms, having been the first in the state to live in close proximity to turbines.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing," she said.

"When they first started, it sounded like a jumbo jet was over the top of us when the wind was blowing in our direction.

"One of the families bought their newborn twins home to the farm and the babies couldn't settle. They went away and the babies were fine so they sold their property and left. They steamrolled us. Looking back, if only we knew and if only we had the power to do something."