South Gippsland
Victoria, Australia



Features & Letters to Editor.

Back to Windfarm Home Page.

NO GREENHOUSE GAS SAVINGS.  12 July, 2006. Peter Stone.
ITS NOT JUST THE BIRDS - May, 2006, Letter to Editor, Tom Reakes.
OUR FIRST WIND FARM?  -  11 May 2005
NOT HAPPY GRAHAM!   -  Letter to Editor, Kathryn & Wayne Lynch  - 18 May 2005
WIND FARM APPLICANTS MUST CONSIDER NEIGHBOURS - Letter to Editor, Anna & Rudolf Jung - 18 May 2005.


From Peter Stone, Devon North.

Puppet politician Theo Theophanous states that "every unit of electricity produced by a windfarm is a unit that doesn't have to be produced by burning greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels". This is totally misleading, dare I suggest a political lie, as it simply does not happen. 

Windfarms do not reduce greenhouse gases - indeed they create them during their construction and installation. With respect to Victoria's production of electricity, greenhouse gasses are only reduced by burning less coal - its as simple as that. Coal is burnt to power the generator that creates the electricity in the Latrobe Valley. Unless a generator is closed down, it continues to require coal consumption at a steady rate. As electricity generated by wind turbines is erratic and such a small percentage of  total demand, no generator has, or will be closed down, as a result of any existing Gippsland windfarm, nor will it happen with the proposed Devon North windfarm. 

Electricity cannot be stored on a large scale. It is simply a lie that the Devon North windfarm will reduce greenhouse gases, and will be ‘the equivalent of 16,569 cars taken off the road', as ridiculously claimed by Synergy Wind in their permit application. 

If the Bracks'  government is genuine about reducing greenhouse gases, then let it move toward permanently closing down  the Latrobe Valley power stations. The loss of jobs and the incredible increase in commercial and domestic electricity charges would cause an outcry and would bring down the economy of Victoria. In the meantime, let's have a declaration from the premier that for every megawatt of electrical energy generated, a specific tonnage of coal will not be burnt in the valley. That would give us a nice cozy feeling that greenhouses gases are indeed being reduced, but it is totally impractical to do this, and electricity costs will rise considerably. 

Wind generated electricity is subsidised by you, the taxpayer, at an estimated cost of some $36,000 per turbine per year. It is promoted by the Bracks' government to gain the green vote and pamper to overseas industrial companies lobbying  to install their 120 metre towers on rural land, just as the German Synergy Wind is attempting to do at Devon North. 

If Bracks' is genuinely concerned for the welfare of the people and the future of Victoria, then let him use our taxes for urgently required changes in infrastructure by transferring his millions of wind energy subsidy funds into education, better school housing, better country road and public transport, and health. He may indeed gain more votes in November if he does so. 

But, if the government cannot see the folly of their ways and small holding windfarms proliferating across Gippsland are inevitable, at least construct them away from residential areas like Bolgers Road, where they will offer the least intrusion.

Peter Stone, Devon North 

From: Tom Reakes, Devon NOrth.

To: Yarram Standard News
Subject: An (open) letter to the Minister for Energy Industries, The Hon. Theo Theophanous.

Dear Minister, 

I recently read with some interest a quotation of yours regarding ‘windfarms’. You made the assertion that opponents of ‘windfarms’
were, in fact, denying landholders and farmers the opportunity to earn income from their land. I find such a statement arrogant and
insolent in the extreme. It could only be made by someone who has an agenda and who himself is not affected by these monstrous

My wife and I, along with our daughter and 4 year old grandson, live in a most beautiful part of the state - South Gippsland. We are
situated in a lovely valley overlooked by magnificent rolling hills and tranquil pasture and forest (both plantation and
native). Ours is only a small block of 3/4 acre and two of leased creek frontage. I am an avid gardener. We moved
here from Melbourne for the life style and a positive ‘tree-change’. This place is everything we ever wanted.

Now a local farmer with a far greater land holding than ourselves has approached a German company to erect nine turbines on his
property (some of those rolling hills I mentioned). The application is currently before the Wellington Shire for consideration.

It is fair to say that everyone who is immediately affected by this proposal is strongly opposed to these turbines going up. Major reasons are loss of amenity, noise pollution, flicker, major disruption during nine months of construction and, of course, significant devaluation of property, amongst others. Three residents have had their properties recently devalued to a total of $200,000. These are all typical battlers, none is wealthy, their life savings invested toward a beautiful country life and for some, a quiet retirement. Ruined, if this thing goes ahead!

So one farmer can earn in excess of $60,000 per annum for the next 25 years, making a total of about $1,600,000 while the rest of us
will lose equity in our homes. It may be that I will die and my wife might wish to move into town and purchase a home - she will have to
do it with a greatly reduced capital. That farmer, in the meantime, could lease his land and move away and never have to look at the
ugliness he’s left behind. They’ll be fine on an annual pension of $60k, plus whatever else his investments will bring in. They can enjoy a quiet life away from the incessant droning of wind turbines and not have to confront the neighbours they have so shamefully wronged.

Now, Mr Theophanous, do you see why I find your comment so hurtful, so unreasonable and so downright insulting? I invite you to come to Devon North and look at this beautiful place and meet the people you say want to deprive a farmer of a living, and see for yourself the hurt and uncertainty that has been created.

Yours sincerely, Tom Reakes.

From: Tom Reakes
Sent: Friday, 5 May 2006 10:10 AM
To: Yarram Standard News
Subject: Letter to the Editor - response to N S Browne


I’m not sure where NS Browne (YSN 3/5/06 ‘Of blind parrots and wind turbines’) got his/her information from but I’d like to make a few points.
Firstly, wind turbine blades do not move slowly. The rotor turns at between 10 to 25 revolutions per minute. This equates to a maximum blade tip speed of about 215km/h.
These are AusWEA (Australian Wind Energy Association) statistics. Secondly, to say that a blade would need to move at the speed of an aircraft propeller to kill a bird cannot be so. How many of us have killed birds with our motor vehicles when travelling at speeds far less than 215km/h? And the blade is much, much bigger than the average family car. 
Thirdly, birds do get killed by wind turbines and they do not have to be blind. I have a Fact Sheet published by AusWEA, which states in relation to wind turbine impact on birds: The rate of bird mortality on those sites ranges from between 0.23 to 2.7 birds per turbine per year. With nine turbines proposed at Devon North this would equate to 2.07 to 24.3 bird deaths annually. (At Dollar that figure soars to 11.04 to 129.6) Some of those killed may well be protected species. There is, for instance, a Wedge-tailed Eagle nest on Whitelaw’s Track within about a kilometre of the site. We commonly see those birds, with their young, flying overhead. I understand that there are also reported sightings of Powerful & Masked Owls in the area.
However, for mine, birds are not the crucial issue, albeit an important one. There seems something absurd, even unethical, that a
segment of society is more concerned about the health of birds than it is the well-being of human beings. And, make no mistake, this issue does affect our social and psychological well-being, and, potentially, physical health. Already divisions are emerging and I’ve experienced anger aimed at myself, totally unsolicited. The land holder at Devon North stands to reap a huge financial windfall from this project on his property whilst those of us in the immediate area will suffer financial loss due to plummeting land values. And that is documented. To my mind there is something immoral in that scenario.
Affected neighbours of these turbines will have their amenity seriously spoiled. People who have dreamed of retiring to tranquillity and beautiful outlooks have it all taken away in one fell swoop, whilst the land holder of the turbines can choose to lease the farm, move away, and never have to look at the things. Is that fair? Is it right?
Local councils, State and Federal governments need to have clear and enforceable guidelines as to where these things can be placed.
After all, if I wanted to erect even a three-storey building in Devon North I wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance but a 25-storey turbine is
almost a sure thing, under Victorian State Government guidelines. These monstrosities will continue to mar our countryside unless
action is taken now. Peter Ryan is correct when he says that in 25 years time we will look at this exercise as a monument to man’s
stupidity. We live in a huge, largely uninhabited, continent. There has to be alternative sites to those proposed close to dwellings, even in our district. 
I wonder why Mr. Bracks has never entertained the notion of windfarms for Sorrento, Port Phillip Bay, Lorne etc? It’s simple. Because of the public backlash. He would never get away with it. It would be political suicide. But Gippsland? No problem. Gippsland has no political value to this government whatever. And Devon North, with a fistful of homeowners? They could never make a loud enough noise. 
If a couple of parrots or eagles could win the day for us, I’d take it, but I would not be content. Nothing less than common sense and
common decency must prevail in this fight for our democratic rights. I ask your readers to really think through the issues and to see
more than just “anything’s better than that hole in the La Trobe Valley”. 
Is it?
Tom & Susan Reakes, Devon North.

25 January, 2006 - Yarram Standard News


We are a middle-aged couple who plan to retire in the near future, and we have built a dream house on a beautiful 5-acre property in Devon North. Like many people who wish to retire soon, we are keen to escape the hectic life of the city, and seek the beauty and tranquility that many of the rural areas of Gippsland can offer.

However, this dream of beauty and tranquility is threatened by the proposal for the development of the ôYarram Wind-farmö.  In this proposal, wind turbines will be placed as close as 500 meters (and maybe even 450 meters) to our home. At this close proximity, the noise levels and overpowering views of these turbines will clearly threaten our dream of tranquil country living. 

We feel that there are many couples like us who plan to retire in the beautiful rural areas of Gippsland. We believe that such people have the potential to contribute substantially to the local economies of Gippsland. We believe that the developments of wind-farms in the Gippsland area will only serve to frighten away people like us, and prevent the growth of the local economies in the Gippsland area.

It is our firm belief that the economy in the Gippsland area will suffer due to the development of these wind-farms, and that the dreams of many people wishing to retire there will be shattered. 

The company, Synergy (who builds the wind turbines) has mislead the people of Yarram, by stating that the power generated by these win- turbines will directly provide power for the town of Yarram. This is not true, as power generated by these wind turbines will go into the general public power grid. Therefore, in this sense, the power generated by these turbines will not directly improve the economic well being of Yarram. 

We believe that the good people of Yarram should oppose the development of these wind-farms, and do everything to stop them. The Yarram wind-farm should be opposed not only for the people whose lives will be directly affected by their presence, but also to protect the general economic well-being of the town of Yarram. 

Yours sincerely,
Tad, Elizabeth & Daniel Heibert.

Yarram Standard News, 11 May 2005. Feature article. 


The Yarram district has put a first tentative toe in the water to test the potential for a small to medium-sized wind farm to be located in this area. 

It is proposed that the facility could be between 10 and 25 turbines in size, generating about 30 mega watts of power. The German firm involved in the testing recently erected a 60- metre high wind-monitoring tower on a 300-acre farming property, off Ingles Road at Devon North. These towers can be in place for years before any further action is taken. 

The "Standard News" was advised by a local resident of the existence of the tower last week, though it has been known for some time that several  wind energy firms were looking in this area. 

It is doubtful that the plans for a wind farm at Devon North will attract the scale of opposition that the proposed 48-turbine facility, overlooking Wilsons Promontory and Corner Inlet, at Dollar has attracted. 

More than 1500 submissions were received against that project, with a dozen in favor, and it was strongly criticised during a 24-day hearing, which wound up in Foster last week, for being too close to 170 homes, for detracting from the significant landscape values around the Prom and for failing to attract community support. 

But, the local proposal is still likely to raise some dust. Property owner, Graham Helleren, has confirmed that his farm is hosting the wind-monitoring tower, though he stresses the project is in the very early stages. 

"Nothing might come of it. That's why they are doing the testing," said Mr Helleren today.

"We have advised our neighbors and the shire has been consulted with. Everything is being done correctly but I guess it was only a matter of time before there was some more general interest taken.

"All we ask is that people keep an open mind about this. That's what we are doing. 

"I'm not in favor of putting these things up in coastal areas or along tourist roads but I believe there are suitable locations for them and we think this may be one of them. 

"I think we've all got to take responsibility for finding renewable energy sources. They aren't going to take the place of the holes in the ground over in the Latrobe Valley but if they can slow the growth of coal-fired power stations, then that's a good thing." 

Mr Helleren said he was also interested in the supplementary income that a small to medium sized wind energy facility might  provide. 

"We have 300 acres here and we are looking at a small number of turbines being located right up in the back blocks, well away from the road with pine plantations screening two thirds of the site." 

Mr Helleren said his properly was not visible from Yarram and could prove to be an ideal location. 

"Small facilities on acres, well back away from populated areas and the coast, is the way to go as far as I am concerned. 

"I appreciate that it is the right of people to raise questions about it, and we welcome that but I'd ask that people keep an open mind about it and remember that it is very much just a trial at the moment". 

Mr Helleren's comments are supponed by the Australian Wind Energy Association which said today that few of the locations that tested their wind resources would ever become wind energy facilities. 

A spokesperson for the Wellington Shire's planning department said the shire had not yet been officially advised about the interest in wind energy at Devon North, because firms were no longer required to apply for a permit to erect wind monitoring towers, but it had received some calls from locals notifying them of a German firm contacting landowners in the Yarram area. 

"Any application for a wind energy facility would have to come to the shire or go through the State Government and the public would be given ample time to comment before anything went ahead." 

Mr Helleren declined to divulge the name of the German firm involved. 

---------- End of article.

Note further articles and Letters to the Editor commenting on the ‘back blocks' location of the turbines - ‘back blocks' which border several residences. Note that Heleren makes no mention of potential disruption to his neighbours, and attempts to give the impression that the turbines will be somewhat out of sight. Helleren also implies that no action to oppose the proposed windfarm should be taken at this early stage as "nothing might come of it". Yet he fails to note that once an application for a permit is made, there is only a finite amount of time for those opposing the intrusion into their lifestyle to make their grievences felt and have the application refused. 

Yarram Stndard News.  18 May 2005.  Letters to the Editor.


Dear Editor, 
  We own a small property on Bolgers Road, Devon North and are strongly opposed to any wind turbines on Graham Helleren's property. We love the peace and tranquillity of where we live and do not want it ruined by these turbines. 
  We consider ourselves to be neighbours as we can see the wind monitor from our back door and were not notified by Mr Helleren. He states that the turbines are being located in the back blocks. This is not correct as they are clearly visible from our house and our neighbours along Bolgers Road. 
  Mr Helleren states that he is interested in the income wind farms can provide but we feel this is a very selfish attitude - ruining the landscape and lifestyle of anyone in close proximity to his property. 
  There are other alternatives, either leasing, agisting or selling his property. We would like to know if it is his intention to continue to live on the property, how close the turbines are to his home, if they are visible from his home, or if it is his intention to go on a sailing holiday and not worry about the damage these turbines will do to the lifestyies of the people in close proximity.  In closing, Mr Helleren can expect strong opposition to any proposal for wind farms in such a beautiful and peaceful area. 

Kathryn & Wayne Lynch, Devon North. 

Yarram Stndard News.  18 May 2005.  Letters to the Editor.


Dear Editor,
  Regarding the proposed wind farms on Mr Helleren's "back blocks", these blocks do adjoin and look down on Bolger's Road, the very area in which we live. 
  The whole area is extremely picturesque and many of us Bolger residents (and others) look straight onto the Hellerens' blocks. They are not, in fact, screened by pine plantations and are clearly visible from Yarram and Port Albert also. 
  Their blocks are higher than ours (indeed, theirs is the highest hill in the area) and one can see our farm from both areas. Whilst we can appreciate the potential income that Mr Helleren can generate from this project, we have been to the Toora wind farm and seen first hand that these turbines can and will produce a lot of noise, especially in the hills and valleys of our beautiful community. 
  Mr Helleren has not advised any of us about this project. The first we knew was when the test tower, appeared. There are at least 10 properties in direct line with the proposed site before the screening plantation. And even a plantation will offer screening only until the plantation has been harvested. Then everyone will see it. 
  We call on Mr and Mrs Helleren to reconsider their position and to think about other lives they are disrupting.

Rudolf and Anna Jung, Devon North. 

Yarram Standard News, 25 May 2005.  Feature article.


Anna and Rudolph Jung moved from Yarram to Devon North three years ago for peace and tranquillity. Their serenity could be shattered if Devon North property owner Graham Helleren goes ahead with allowing a German firm to erect a 10-25 turbine wind farm on his 300-acre farm- ing property off Ingles Road, Devon North.

"We bought the place to get out where it's nice and quiet, and for the scenery," Anna said. The Jung's south-facing balcony takes in an expansive view from Manns Beach to Port Albert and the proposed wind towers will obstruct their view because "it's on the highest hill," Anna said. 

Rudolph is of the opinion that if they can see from Manns Beach to Port Albert, then residents there will be able to see the wind turbines too.

"Why here? This is our livelihood. We can't move. Our money's been put into the 73 acres, that's it," Anna said in despair. 

Anna and Rudolph believe that, because of the hills, they will hear the turbines echo. On a clear day, they can hear noise from the timber mill on Church Road. 

Anna said their neighbors are all against the proposed wind farm as well. "We've been around and asked, they're not happy at all," she said. Anna and Rudolph said Mr Helleren hasn't approached them about the proposed wind farm; they found out about it through their neighbor, who lives in Dandenong and has a holiday house on Bolgers Road. It is their understanding Mr Helleren has only informed - "one or two" houses near him about the wind farm.

"We're definitely going to oppose it 'cause it's just not fair," Anna said, "It's not the back blocks, the way Graham described it in the paper, people won't see it, but they will. If it was way in the back blocks, I wouldn't mind either, but it's not! 

"He also said the site is screened on two thirds by pine plantations, but there are houses between it, (and) the pines are around 3km away," Anna said.

If the wind farm went ahead, every time Anna and Rudolph walked out their front door or looked out the window, they would see the turbines. While the facility is still in the very early stages, Anna believes it is not too early to voice her concerns. "If we don't start making some sort of noise now, it'll just go ahead. There's a wind velocity tester already on the hill," she said. 

Yarram Standard News. June 2005.  Feature article.


The Nationals are opposing State Government legislation, which it claims would hit local councils with a "double whammy in the reduction of its rates", according to Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan. 

Mr Ryan has told State Parliament that the Energy Legislation Bill effectively short changed local councils which would be forced to make up the rates revenue from other ratepayers. 

"The changes proposed by the Bracks Government would provide a rates discount for wind energy companies at the expense of local government," Mr Ryan said. 

"The double whammy comes into effect because these industrial wind factories force a devaluation on neighboring land and a corresponding decrease in rate revenue. 

"Other ratepayers will be forced to pick up the tab or councils like South Gippsland Shire will have to cut services." 

Mr Ryan quoted the example of the 12-turbine Toora wind farm, which currently paid rates in the order of $77,000 per year. Under the new system proposed by the Bracks Government, the rates bill would decrease to $59,000 - an $18,000 loss for the shire. 

The issue of wind farms has just hit the agenda in the Yarram area, with a Devon North landholder being approached to host some of the turbines. 

"When you apply the system to other proposals in South Gippsland, it is easy to see that the local shire, and the local community, will be out of pocket if this legislation proceeds unchanged. 

"In the case of the proposed Dollar Wind Farm at Foster North, we will have a development worth about $100 million generating about $100,000 in rates. "The negative impact on surrounding property values will be significant and the shire will forego rates revenue to prop up this government's obsession with wind farms. 

"Not only does the local community strongly object to wind farms in these inappropriate locations, now we are learning that the shire will not be fully rewarded in terms of rate revenue in the future.

"The Bracks Govern- ment should reconsider the rating formula it has devel- oped to ensure local com- munities are adequately compensated for the huge social, economic and environmental impost of host ing these wind farms." 

Yarram Standard News, September 7, 2005. Feature article. 


A Devon North man against the possibility of a windfarm on his neighbor's property concedes he is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Peter Stone wants to retain the friendship he shares with his neighbors, the Helleren family, but by the same token he said he does not want up to 10 turbines near his dream home.

Mr Stone believes the potential windfarm at Ingles Road, Devon North, would impact on his property's value, be a blight on the landscape, and cause noise And shadow flicker. He is voicing his concerns around the world by publishing his opposition on a website.

"But I respect the rights of the Hellerens to consid- er this as an option for the use of their land," he said. "They are wonderful neighbors and good friends, and I want that rela- tionship to remain, so we have a potentially difficult problem here."

A wind monitoring tower may now be erected on the Helleren's property but Graham Helleren said opponents were "purely speculating". "It's.. far too early to speculate and until we get further down the track, I'm not prepared to speculate," he said.

"The tower has only gone up to determine the wind speed and whether a windfarm would be feasible. The tower is only there to give us information as to what mayor may not happen. "They're getting very upset and very irate about something that may never exist. Let's give the wind company a fair go and let them test and then say 'This is what we're about'."

Mr Stone met with Gippsland South MLA and Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Ryan in Yarram last Friday, to discuss his concerns. Mr Ryan is now gather- ing evidence presented by witnesses at the Dollar windfarm hearing at Foster recently, for Mr Stone's information. He also plans to speak to Wellington Shire Council, urging council to note its capacity'to reject any application for a wind- farm under 30 megawatts.

"I share the concerns of local residents for the aes- thetics and also concerns about noise, blade glint and shadow flicker," Mr Ryan said. "One can understand how people are attracted to the prospect of this devel- opment but there is a broader perspective of the impact on the community."

Mr Stone said he and up to 50 families in the Devon North area that would be affected by a wind farm have the right to enjoy their rural lifestyle and have built homes to exploit the surrounding vistas. "This is the major problem with the siting of wind-farms in Gippsland. A wind- farm can be an insidious intrusion into communities where so many people are directly affected," he said. 'We moved here five years ago because of the beautiful setting and because we wanted some space.

"I can only hope that the State Government and local councils consider the intro- duction of windfarms with the local community in mind, and how residential life may change as a result of an inappropriate decision."

Windfarms should be sited with minimal disrup- tion to the surrounding community, Mr Stone said. "No-one would put a waste dump in the middle of Devon North. No-one is going to put a pig farm next to a bed and breakfast, so why consider putting a windfarm here?" he asked.

"There are 36 properties within one-and-a-half kilometres of the site. Not many people are farming there. People live there because of the lifestyle. "One person from Melbourne recently built a house at Devon North because of the view and now there could be a wind- farm there."

As for the issue of noise, Mr Stone said wind- farms produce two types of noise: a 'woosh, woosh' sound created by blades rushing past towers and turbine gear noise, varying between low and high fre- quency hums.

The company behind the wind tower remains a mystery. "One of the problems that we have at the moment is that we have not had an opportunity to talk to the company," Mr Stone said.

"And what I can't understand is why you are required by council to get a permit to put up a garden shed in your backyard yet you can put up a 48m tower without shire approval."

Mr Helleren said although the tower has been erected for some months, it only began working properly last week. Residents opposing the possibility of a windfarm are considering forming a group to 'make the ramifi- cations clear'.

With the prospect of the Devon North windfarm being the first for Wellington Shire Council, Mr Stone believes now is the right time for council to produce its own windfarm policy. "If it were not for State Government policy, it would be easy for the shire to prevent a windfarm from going ahead by preventing the preliminary monitoring of the site," he said.

"Is our council going to improve the quality of life for our people? "When we lost the shire here, we lost close contact with the shire." 
Mr Stone's website is: http://yarrampa.customer.netspace. net.au/windfarm.html

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