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Stanley community meeting over Western Plains wind farm development

Stanley residents voiced their concerns at a proposed 12-turbine wind farm off the coast during a community meeting on Sunday.

Themes of “right project, wrong place” and “social licence” were common throughout as the Western Plains development drew a range of criticisms.

Stanley resident Jonathan Smith spoke in front of the full house at the local town hall, describing the proposal as a “blight on our town”.

Mr Smith said the meeting was not regarding opposition to other wind farm or fish farm developments.

“We wish to reiterate, we do not oppose wind turbines, we do not oppose the development,” he said.

“We oppose the siting of these wind turbines on the Stanley peninsula. Right project, wrong place.”

DST Legal principal lawyer Dominica Tannock, a lawyer who has represented communities in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in wind farm disputes, was one of several speakers.

Speakingbefore the community meeting, Ms Tannock said she wished to inform the Stanley community of the impacts of wind farms.

“They have to test the assumptions that the developers bring forward to them, test the facts and the results and the impacts,” Ms Tannock said.

“The developers like for everyone to underestimate them, because they’re here to make a buck.”

When asked what should be the criteria to for a wind farm to be considered in the right place, Ms Tannock said community acceptance.

“A social licence must be first and foremost,” she said.

She said other states had announced projects to expand renewables and questioned where Tasmania’s extra energy would go.

Local resident Craig Dwyer said at first he was “quite open” to the project, but has since changed his mind after conversation and research into wind direction and its potential acoustic impact on the township of Stanley.

Mr Dwyer said he spoke with people who work on wind farms.

“One of them said you’ll definitely hear them in the main street of Stanley,” Mr Dwyer said.

“He said it will just be a background noise that you won’t be able to decide what it is, but there will be a whooshing and roaring noise in the background all the time.”

Epuron spokeswoman Donna Bolton joined the town hall meeting via Skype.

When asked whether Epuron would support a clause in the development that would ensure any purchaser of the wind farm had to launch a $30 million fund held in trust to support its future decommissioning, she said they would not.