Ark Energy’s controversial Western Plains wind farm proposal for Stanley appears to be dead in the water.
Circular Head Council Mayor Gerard Blizzard has confirmed the council had received notification that the energy company had rescinded its application to Tasmania’s Environment Protection Authority to approve the management plan for the project.
Ark Energy had planned to build up to 12 turbines at Western Plains which is just north west of Stanley near the historic Highfield House attraction. The property, four kilometres from the Stanley township is currently used for cattle grazing.
The turbines would have been visible from the town’s major tourist drawcard – the Nut – and a band of locals were protesting the proposal.
Kerry Houston, who owns the Ship Inn and is secretary of the Respect Stanley Peninsula – No Wind Turbines said many members of our community were strongly opposed to the project.
“This wind farm was simply the wrong project in the wrong place. There are better options on the table that will deliver renewable energy at far less cost than this divisive project,” Ms Houston said.
“For example, two very large solar farms which have received positive community and environmental feedback seem to be much better value than the Stanley wind farm.
“People finally feel they have been listened to.”
The EPA had given Ark Energy multiple extensions to the deadline to lodge its Development Proposal Environmental Management Plan.
The latest deadline was October 31.
The decision to not proceed also comes as the Circular Head Council works to amend its planning rules to include Local Provision of Scenic Protection Areas to protect the whole of the Stanley peninsula.
At the Circular Head Council meeting on October 19, the council voted in favour of scenic protection for several areas including the Stanley Peninsula.
The change now goes to the public for 28 days before the council collates the proposal and submissions and sends the information to the Tasmanian Planning Commission for a final decision.
The Nut itself is on the priority assessment list for inclusion in the National Heritage Listing.
The assessment states: “The geology and landscape of The Nut and nearby volcanic features are unique in Australia and are an important geomorphological area for the nation. Some of the features are the only documented examples in the world.”
The Ark Energy project had two components, the 12-turbine wind farm at North Point on Stanley Peninsula, and a 25km underground power line out to Port Latta.
It is understood the company does not yet have easements secured for the line out to Port Latta.
The EPA and Ark Energy have been contacted for comment on the issue.
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