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Tractor motorcade makes point 

Credit:  Jun 22 2022 - Cobden Timboon Coast Times - ctctimes.com.au ~~

Farmers and landholders rallied with a convoy of tractors to protest against the proposed Mumblin wind farm.

Farmers took about 15 tractors adorned with signs such as “No Wind Farms Here,” and “No Turbines Near our Homes” to the Ecklin community hall on Saturday where the windfarm proponents were holding drop-in meetings with local residents.

The Ecklin-Elingamite-Glenfyne Community Association Stop Mumblin Wind Farm group organised the rally.

The group has maintained it was not opposed to wind farms but objects to the proposed location, fearing the turbines will impact on existing farming operations, damage the rural lifestyle, threaten swamps and local birds, cause noise and shadow problems and reduce land values.

RE Future has lodged an application for the Mumblin Wind Farm which would feature 10-15 wind turbine generators in the Ecklin, Elingamite and Glenfyne regions with a combined capacity to generate power for up to 35,000 homes.

The Stop Mumblin Windfarm Facebook group has more than 225 members and a community meeting late last year attracted nearly 200 people.

Elingamite North dairy farmer Linda Morgan said Saturday’s rally demonstrated the depth of community concern.

“RE Future set it up for one-on-one consultations but it was an opportunity for us to bring our tractors and show this is agricultural land and we want to protect it,” she said.

“We’ve written to the company and asked questions but had no response, so we’ve come here today to get some answers.”

“This could have been avoided with earlier consultation.”

Mrs Morgan said group members were not against wind farms.

“We like the idea of renewables, it’s just a matter of where wind farms go and we want to help RE Future find suitable sites,” she said.

Glenfyne dairy farmer Dennis Rosolin said the proposed turbines were too close to homes, would take away prime agricultural land and create a “visual eyesore”.

“We’re not opposed to wind farms, just the location,” he said.

The Ecklin-Elingamite-Glenfyne Community Association Stop Mumblin wind farm represents more than 70 families.

The group was concerned some farmers – many of who utilise helicopters for dispersal – would not be able to use fertiliser in spring because of the blades and buffer zones would impact on adjoining farms.

Local resident Bob Donovan said south west Victoria was home to an increasing number of wind farms, but was a vitally important intensive agricultural region.

“There are a lot of people living in this area,” he said.

“If the wind farm went further north, there are huge properties and they won’t bother anybody.”

“There are also lakes and swamps with native birdlife here; one of the turbines is only one kilometre from Lake Elingamite.”

Farmer Melissa Cardwell said the turbines would be in the middle of an intensive farming and lifestyle area.

“We don’t know what noise will come from them,” she said.

“It’s going to affect our income, our land values, our sleep, possibly our health.”

“The buffer zone is one kilometre off the neighbouring property from the edge of the property with the turbines, but we say the buffer zone should be within the host farm’s property, not the neighbour’s land.”

Ms Cardwell said the blades, if the wind farm was approved, would be 250 metres high and 162 metres wide.

“The blade span wouldn’t fit in the MCG,” she said.

If approved at the current specifications, the turbines would be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The group said its was not happy with responses from RE Future on Saturday and it would continue to object to the plans.

The group has employed lawyer Dominica Tannock from DTS Legal in Melbourne who successfully represented Bald Hill wind farm opponents in South Gippsland.

Mrs Morgan said the group would continue to build information about the impact on flora and fauna and farming operations.

RE Future project director Severin Staalesen said so far more than 70 face-to-face meetings had been conducted in the local area and the offer to meet with anyone who wants to talk about the project was still in place.

He said the open day on Saturday was held so local residents could talk directly to company representatives about the wind farm.

“After listening on Saturday we have committed to hold another open event in the coming month or two in consultation with the Corangamite Shire Council,” Mr Staalesen said.

“This site was chosen for a number of reasons.

“It has a good wind resource, it has good access to major roads, it’s located in an area dedicated to intensive farming, it’s located away from areas dedicated to rural living, it’s located away from important infrastructure like airports and telecommunications facilities, and finally it has good setbacks to dwellings.”

RE Future acknowledged some residents have raised “serious concerns about the compatibility of wind energy with dairy farming”, according to Mr Staalesen.

“However, experience both locally and around the world shows that the two land uses are entirely compatible,” he said.

“Wind farms are located in dairy farming regions all over the world, including in Europe and North America, and dairy farming has continued around them without a problem.”

“In the local area, there are two wind farms currently operating in dairy farming country (Timboon West Wind Farm and Ferguson Wind Farm in Cooriemungle), and neither wind farm has had any impact on the dairy farming operations that surround them.”

Mr Staalesen said the project was at the beginning of the development process.

“We’re currently carrying out technical studies that will inform the planning permit application,” he said.

“As with all wind farm developments, when it’s ready the planning permit application will be assessed against the provisions of the planning scheme.

“The planning scheme sets independent and objective standards that all wind farms must meet, including sound emissions, impacts to aviation, shadow flicker, impacts to flora and fauna, impacts to cultural heritage, and electromagnetic interference.”

“At the appropriate time in the planning process we’ll make all the planning documents publicly available on our project website.”

Source:  Jun 22 2022 - Cobden Timboon Coast Times - ctctimes.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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