YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
Tom Reakes - Letter to Senator Campbell
Anna & Rudi Jung. Letter to Editor. Newspaper article.
Kathy & Wayne Lynch. Letter to Editor.
Peter Stone. Statement of concern.
Tom Reakes. Statement of concern.
Sue Reakes. Letter to Wellington Council.
Tad & Elizabeth Heibert. Letter to C.Spitzner, Synergy Wind Pty Ltd.
Tom Reakes. Letter to proposed windfarm property owners, the Hellerens.
Tom Reakes. Letter to Rob Hulls, Vic.Parliament.
Tad & Elizabeth Heibert. Letter to Wellington Shire Councillors.
Reakes, Bolgers Rod, Devon North
Letter to Senator Ian Campbell, (Federal) Minister for the Environment.
5 May 2006.
Dear Senator Campbell,
I read with great interest
your recent involvement in the Bald Hills windfarm decision. I applaud
that decision as a victory for the residents of the district, the visitors
to the area, and, of course, the parrot.
My name is Tom Reakes. I
live (along with my wife, daughter and grandson) in a rather idyllic part
of Gippsland some ten kilometres west of Yarram. We enjoy rolling hills,
kookaburras, koalas, eagles….. and tranquillity. The latter is under serious
threat from the menace of nine 70 metre high wind turbines that a little-known
German company, Synergy Wind P/L, proposes to place on a hill about 500
metres behind our backdoor.
TO WELLINGTON SHIRE COUNCILLORS
February 2006. From Tad and Elizabeth Heibert.
Dear (Councillor, by name),
We believe that Synergy approached
the Shire Officers regarding the matter of the proposed wind farm, and
received a positive response. This disappoints us greatly, as we firmly
believe that the location of the wind farm is completely inappropriate,
and will have harmful effects on us and other residents.
Stone & family.
Ingles Road, Devon North.
I came to Yarram with my partner Wendy in 1989, and lived in town, at the Federal Coffee Palace. Soon after our son was born in 1999, we realised that a small rural property would be ideal for Sam to grow up with and we bought an ordinary residence on just under two acres on Ingles Road. It was an ideal location for us - just ten minutes from Yarram, surrounded by hills and paddocks, birds, cows, and the occasional echidna and koala - and we have marvellous neighbours who are, I would hope to presume, our friends. Over the years we turned our ordinary home into what we prefered, extending considerably, and rendering the whole place. This was our quiet place on earth. Having travelled extensively as a photo journalist, I knew Australia well and I have to conclude that South Gippsland is a wonderful place to live and to bring up our son.
Our self-imposed wellbeing was somewhat disrupted when advised by our neighbours that they were proposing a windfarm. Our initial reaction was one of 'good on you' as we appreciated the financial security that such a proposal would bring. We were somewhat nonchalant about how it would affect us and agreed that we didn't want to be whingers about what we thought at the time was a great way to provide renewable energy. We had seen the Toora windfarms of course and marvelled at their size and enjoyed our son's pleasure at seeing the 'Telletubby' windmills. We were not going to be NIMBYs - no way. Sure, the skyline would be broken by these enormous white seventy-metre towers, but we could live with that. And if we weren't planning to sell immediately, the immediate drop in our land value was not so critical.
It did not take long before I started to take a greater interest in wind energy, and as I did so, initially on the internet, then reading government and wind energy company reports, and speaking to a steadily increasing number of people, that I realised how naive I was.
The more I delved into the concept of wind energy and the way the turbines intruded into the very mind and lifestyle of those surrounding neighbours, the more I realised that our own lifestyle was to change, and not for the better. To what extend we are to yet determine, but change it will. I learnt about, and experiencd for myself, the noise problem. I heard a new term as it applied to the landscape - flicker, and glint. I imagined how tall the towers would be from my home, towering above on a hill not 500 metres from by back door. I knew very promptly that my property value had dropped, and it was not long before the waves of discontent from other neighbours invaded our home and the community - there were people out there with very big concerns. Indeed, I did not realise until I visited their homes just how intrusive these wind trubines would be to other neighbours. I was not alone in my concerns. I read more, and spoke to several people directly imvolved in the Toora, Dollar, and Bald Hills project. If I was to be a NIMBY, I would at least know what I was talking about. I soon realised how much there was to learn, as there are others in South Gippsland who have spent an enormous amount of time debating the wind energy issue and trying to maintain what was an ideal rural lifestyle for them. I soon realised that when the turbine towers are indeed in your backyard, they are an enormous problem to your wellbeing. But how close to they have to be. Apart from the visiual impact over many miles, I soon realised that sound is a problem even at seven kilometers; that flicker is a terrible situation whereby the strobe effect can be not just annoying but a true health hazard. And of course, every time I now walk onto my little piece of Gippsland paradise, I cannot healp but look up and image what it will be like in eighteen months time. Yes, I have been told that nothing may come of all of this - the monitoring tower now on the land will provide the data as to whether the windfarm will go ahead. All this anxiety is in vain! But I have anxiety - it exists, and I feel it in my neighbours.
IDNTS - and neither do they.
I and my family have a right to live a quiet respectable responsible life as a member of the Yarram and district community, and hopefully we have been an asset rather than a burden to the community. And now this happens to disrupt our life. Of course, how much it will disrupt us in the lap of the Gods. But when these towers are up and running, they will remain for twenty-five years. I may by then not have to worry about the 'legacy of the backyard turbines' I have left my wife and son. Besides, the wind turbines will become second-nature in time, just like power lines. Do we need to accept this.
My neighbours are wonderful people. But I don't want these towering turbines in my backyard, for most of the concerns expressed on the main page: property devalutation, noise, glint, flicker, visual degradation, and possibly electromagnetic problems that may occur. And if you have doubts about our concerns, thats our family home in the main photo on the home page, in the lower left corner.
Reakes, Bolgers Road, Devon North. 6 December 2005
Sue and I are both thoroughly
disappointed by your decision and concerned at the effect these turbines
are going to have on our, and plenty of others', lifestyles, should they
go ahead. There are many reasons why, all of which
This issue has the potential
to divide a harmonious and lovely community. We moved here from Melbourne
chasing a dream and others, I know, have similar dreams of a peaceful and
happy life amongst the rolling green hills of Devon North. Some have put
all their savings and efforts into achieving that.
I won't say too much more - I do not wish to preach at you - but I would ask you humbly and respectfully to reconsider your position. This community deserves better.
Tad & Elizabeth Heibert
November 11, 2005
To: Christian Spitzner, Synergy Wind Pty. Ltd.
Dear Mr. Spitzner,
Subject: Proposed Yarram Wind Farm
Thank you for your letter of 7th September 2005 informing us of the proposed Yarram Wind Farm. We regret to say that this is absolutely devastating news for us.
We are presently constructing a house in beautiful Devon North, and are planning to retire there in the near future. We feel that our dream of a peaceful and quiet life in the country is being destroyed.
We are fully aware of the need to reduce CO2 emissions, and we are certainly not against renewable energy. For that matter, neither are we against wind farms. We simply believe that wind farms should be carefully planned, suitably located, designed and developed to ensure that the benefits outweigh any negative impacts.
We strongly feel that the proposed Yarram Wind Farm is not suitably located. We oppose the proposal for the Yarram Wind Farm for the following reasons:
· It is far too close to our house (it might be as close as 600 meters). Surely in Australia it is still possible to find a more suitable place for a wind farm than a location that is 600 meters away from neighboring houses. Wind farms should be placed in more remote locations (unless they are close to the landowner’s house, who gets paid substantially for it).
· The noise – there is evidence which suggests that the whirring noise can make people sick a mile away. The incessant, low-pitched hum will destroy our dream of quiet and peaceful country living. It will be there 24 hours a day; such noise will be a depressing, monotonous, overriding beat that you can’t escape, especially if you are so close to a wind farm (even 600 meters).
· Reduced property value. The value of our property will devalue because of its close proximity to the wind farm (the closer the wind farm, the bigger the devaluation). The Toora experience has seen surrounding land valuations decreased by the local council. It is so unfair that the landowner accommodating the wind turbines benefits economically, whilst the neighboring properties loose value. In our opinion, there should be a provision for paying compensation to those who have been materially affected by the wind turbines.
· Visual impact. Wind turbines will impact most harshly on those who live in close proximity to them. We will be faced with the overpowering view of the wind turbines all day. We are building our house with panoramic windows to take advantage of the beautiful views, and with the turbines so close, this view will be directly and significantly affected.
We believe that the wind farms should be located in more remote places, with a minimum of 1 kilometer to the nearest house (to minimize the impacts of noise, reduced property value and visual impact). We strongly believe that Devon North is not a suitable location for the proposed Yarram Wind Farm, because of the close proximity of many houses. Thus, we register our objection to the proposal in the strongest possible terms. We trust that you and your company will sympathize with our objections and concerns.
Tad & Elizabeth Heibert, 11/11/05
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