Just so we’re clear – Stanley locals are not the backwards-looking “greenies dressed up as locals” or the “dark forces” some politicians would have you believe.
The Stanley community supports renewable energy. But we want it in the right place. Try and put it in the wrong place and the community will speak up – loudly.
In June, some 100 concerned Stanley locals gathered in front of The Nut to protest Sydney-based Epuron’s proposed Stanley wind farm.
On that winter’s day, I – who am a local business owner – held aloft a sign declaring the message of the assembled group: Respect Stanley Peninsula – No wind turbines!
Later that month in a protest by farmers, fishermen and locals, these signs had multiplied and now adorned tractors and boats lining the main street. The point was to send a very clear message to the developer and government.
Locals are concerned if Epuron gets its way, monster turbines will be erected on Stanley’s doorstep, vandalising the landscape and the iconic views. Tourism operators and locals alike fear for the future of our iconic town if developers are allowed to plunder what is so special about Stanley.
There are now nearly 40 signs displayed all around the town. They’re in yards, on fences, in windows, in homes, on utes and in businesses throughout Stanley and its surrounds. The signs send a very clear message: Stanley does not want this wind farm here.
Locals turned out in force with their signs at the Tasmanian Clean Energy Conference in Devonport. While other states are broadening protections for communities and iconic landscapes, Tasmania sadly lags behind – remaining wide open to the desecration of our landscapes and special places with renewable energy infrastructure.
Where are the “No-go zones” for Tasmania, the much-touted “Battery of the Nation”?
Local farmers Saskia and Herman Umbgrove have taken the signs even further, displaying a large billboard on the Bass Highway. In an ironic twist, the billboard was originally erected to promote the Liberal Party, but Saskia and Herman are disillusioned.
Locals have told Epuron in so many ways the wind farm is not welcome in this historic tourist town. We’ve met with politicians, held a town hall meeting, lodged concerns with Epuron, protested, erected signs and billboards, been in the media – and will keep going until the message gets through.
Epuron is not listening. Epuron’s Donna Bolton Glibly said to ABC Radio’s Leon Compton: “It’s not a popularity contest, it’s a planning application”.
The Stanley community continues to ask: At what point does a developer accept the obvious lack of community consent and withdraw? At what point do our elected representatives listen to the Tasmanian community they represent? Until then, these determined locals will continue to fight for the town they love – their signs clearly show which way the wind blows in Stanley.
Kerry Houston, Stanley business owner
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