Community meeting on proposed wind farm
Credit: May 18, 2023 | Terry Collins | coastcommunitynews.com.au ~~
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A community meeting will be held on Saturday, May 20, to protest an offshore wind farm planned for an area 10km off the coast from Port Stephens to Norah Head.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) is proposing a Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Area (HOREA) with turbines standing 250m above sea level.
The Love Norah Head group has organised Saturday’s meeting, asking community members to come together to “save Norah Head”.
The meeting plans to focus community efforts on reshaping the HOREA zone to stop the impact on Norah Head’s residents, businesses, visitors, neighbours, infrastructure, and environment.
“Major issues have been brushed over and rushed through to meet national political goals without appropriate consideration, assessment and meaningful consultation,” the organisers said in a Facebook post.
They say there has been a complete lack of real meaningful consultation.
“The DCCEEW and the Government need to start the process again and address the Central Coast and Norah Head – not just the Hunter region,” the post says.
“Norah Head has been a gathering point for locals and neighbours for millennia.
“Tourism, whale watching, marine creatures, bird life, outdoor activities, our surfing reserve, fishing and the beautiful amenity of this region that is enjoyed by all will be impacted.
“These impacts will be felt by our local businesses and … our people now and long into the future.”
Organisers are calling for the windfarm to be moved out at least 30km to sea.
“Allow the whales to pass and rest in our bays and sheltered coastline,” the post says.
“Move them out greater than 30km to reduce the impact on our swell.
“Move them out greater than 30km so that it will have a low impact on the visual amenity of our coast.
“Hundreds of (tall) wind turbines … only 10km off Norah Head will dominate the landscape and have a significant impact on the marine ecology.
“Move them out greater than 30km and we can have renewables and preserve Norah Head.”
Earlier this month, Central Coast also called for more information and community consultation before the Federal Government makes its final decision on the HOREA.
Submissions for the project closed on April 28 but Council said it was premature to declare the HOREA until consultation is recommenced and further updated information is available on how it will affect the community and environment, and people have the opportunity to provide informed feedback.
“There is currently insufficient information available to demonstrate the environmental, economic and social impacts the proposed HOREA will have on the Central Coast, including on the terrestrial and marine environment, marine life and avian fauna, marine users and emergency services,” Council said in its submission.
Council raised the issue of visual impact of the wind turbines, estimating they would be visible for up to 40km from the coastline.
“Clarification is required on whether the offshore renewable energy area is anticipated to increase in size, particularly to the south, with the likely expansion over time of the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone,” the submission said.
It also questioned the method of anchoring wind turbines, how restrictions around specific infrastructure might impact on aircraft or emergency services such as Marine Rescue and if there will be changes to routes travelled by vessels to the Port of Newcastle or Port Kembla.
The submission said land-based impacts should also be considered.
The community meeting will be held at 3.30pm on Saturday, May 20, on the lawn in front of Marine Rescue, Maitland St, Norah Head.
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