YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
|IF THIS REPORT IS IN
HARDCOPY, IT IS THE CONTENTS OF WEBSITE
An access link can also be made from http://www.devonnorthwindfarm.info (It's easy to remember this name!)
DEVON NORTH WINDFARM
INGLES ROAD - BOLGERS ROAD
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 .....no more
|IT'S ALL OVER, FOLKS!!!!
I am delighted to announce that after six years of
lies, frustrations and uncertainties, the proposed seven-turbine windfarm
at Devon North near Yarram will not be built.
Last night (21 February 2012) the Wellington Shire Council voted unanimously 9-0 not to grant a permit application extension to Synergy Wind. It did so on the grounds that Synergy Wind have had four years to get their act together, and that there is no longer a contractual agreement between the landholder and Synergy Wind. The 'off the record' comment from the shire to Synergy Wind is simply, 'please, go away'.
You may recall that the proposed windfarm was first put forward in 2006 when a neighbouring landowner was advised by the proposed windfarm property owners Mr and Mrs Graeme Helleren, that a nine turbine windfarm had been contracted with Christian Spitzner of Synergy Wind. In 2007 the Wellington Shire Council refused a permit application made by Synergy Wind with an overwhelming 6-1-1 (abstain) - 1 (absent) vote, fundamentally on the grounds that whereas the council embraces the need for clean energy, the location for the proposed windfarm at Devon North was totally inappropriate as it was within a rural-residential area that houses some thirty residences within a three-kilometre radius.
Synergy Wind took the matter to VCAT and under the previous Labor Government, VCAT over-ruled the Wellington Shire Council decision. VCAT granted a term of four-years to begin construction, and another two-years to complete, but laid down no less than sixteen points to which Synergy Wind must comply, including further sound reports, and discussions with some neighbouring landholders in ways to mitigate flicker and visual amenity concerns. Synergy Wind did not contact any neighbouring residents during this period, nor did they, apparently, make any attempt to comply with the sixteen points insisted by VCAT. The four years ended on 23 December 2011. In separate legislation the current Liberal/National coalition gave all windfarm operators to 15 March 2012 to finalise their applications. Synergy Wind applied to Wellington Council for such an extension.
In the meantime, in early 2011, legal action had been taken between Mrs Helleren (Mr Helleren had passed away), and Synergy Wind. The basis for this is not officially known but it is understood to have been related to the windfarm contract between Helleren and Spitzner. The outcome was settled out of court and it is understood that Spitzner made an offer to buy the Helleren land. This appears to have fallen through and on 11 December 2011, there was no longer any valid contract between Helleren and Spitzner. Mrs Helleren then put part of the proposed windfarm land up for sale.
On 9 February Wellington Shire Council considered the extension application by Synergy Wind but deferred a decision as there were several unknown or confusion factors. I understand that a councillor established details on the lapsed contract between Spitzner and Helleren, and that Mrs Helleren had part of the land up for sale. There no longer being a basis for an application, council voted not to grant an extension.
Although new contracts with new owners, and indeed new windfarm entrepreneurs, could be established in the future, any new contract would require compliance with government regulations. With the 2-km rule in force, a windfarm would not be permitted on the proposed land. It would also appear that the land is not suitable for a windfarm in any case, and has never been suitable considering the limited number of turbines that it could house, its wind-avilability and strength, it being on a geological fault line, and access. I understand that Mrs Helleren is not in the slightest bit interested in renewing any contract with Synergy Wind.
Members of the Concerned Residents of Devon North group are of course relieved and delighted at the outcome. But there are no winners in this whole rather sordid affair. We have suffered anxiety and indeed humiliation in that Christian Spitzner has never spoken to any of the group. I saw the man once at VCAT but he has never spoken to us. Spitzner of course would not be happy with the outcome but with the present economic climate I gather he could not raise the funds anyway - certainly not from Germany, the home of the parent company Turnus Energy. Mrs Helleren is not a winner as she too has suffered anxiety and frustration, albiet for other reasons.
The winners perhaps are the broader community. We can have some faith that persistence in seeking what we believe is fair and right does pay off. We can also have faith in a council that considered the issues as it related to the people and not to some government ideological doctrine that did not take into account the direct effect on individuals. Whereas I am sure the Devon North windfarm would not have proceeded due to lack of funding and its geographic unsuitability, the Wellington Shire councillors have finally put the matter to rest.
The community, its representative governments, and wind energy entrepreneurs need to learn from the Devon North experience. The problem at Devon North arose not so much from the need for clean energy (which we need, but the efficiency and financial viability of wind energy is still in debate); nor from the perceived financial advantages offered to a landowner by a windfarm entrepreneur, but moreso from the state government (at the time, Labor) being so vague in its pursuit of clean energy. The state government made it clear that it would provide welfare subsidies for windfarms. Entrepreneurs such as Spitzner jumped onto this opportunity. However, the government was ignorant in its understanding of the issues of building windfarms particularly where neighbouring residents were involved, and failed to consider the concerns of neighbours with respect to a number of important issues, health being just one. Labor, with Health Minister Andrews, failed to recognize that there could possibly be a health issue. The government failed to consider the rights of neighbouring landowners. The government failed to consider the credibility of the entrepreneurs putting up large-scale windfarm development proposals who did so without a thorough awareness of the viability of the location and the effect on the community. The governmentís instructions to VCAT were to build windfarms, irrespective of the personal and community cost. It failed in its responsibility to the people that it represents, simply in order to follow a doctrine based on claims that the planet is warming up and windfarms will solve the problem.
Most distressing is the fact that the state government did not wish to listen to any concern raised that would be negative to the establishment of a windfarm. The government condoned the windfarm entrepreneurs putting up poorly researched proposals, without the foundation of adequate funding, without proper preparation and due diligence; without knowledge, wind energy engineering skills, and a sense of co-operation and communication. It was suggested to the Labor government in 2006 that a panel be established to initially vet any wind energy proposal put up by an entrepreneur, to verify the entrepreneurs credentials and financial stability, and to reject any half-baked proposals that would only cause grief to many people even if the proposal was finally shelved. Had this been done I am sure we would not have had to endure six years of anxiety.
Without adequate guidelines such as the 2-km rule now in place (the prohibition of a turbine within 2-km of a residence without the residents approval), the state government made it difficult for land-owners to know where they stood. The state governmentís vagueness led to confusion within local councils who were by their nature closer to the issues but still needed to comply with state government policy. But state government policy was too broad, too vague, whereas local council needed to understand local concerns, to implement local policies and yet follow state government directives. State government also exacerbated the issue by giving local councils specific rights to windfarm planning determinations, and then removing those rights of they, the State government, were not satisfied with the council decisions. In some instances this was done directly by the Planning Minister; in others, through their directives to VCAT.
Fortunately some measure of commonsense has prevailed with the Liberal/National coalition, with a recognition of neighbouring residentís concerns. The health issue needs a lot more consideration, but progress is being made. We at Devon North can be pleased that we have assisted in some respect to advise state and federal governments of our concerns which are not necessarily parochial and would be of concern with respect to any windfarm proposal. I believe we have also taken a positive educational role within the community. And we have provided both state and federal representatives from seeing for themselves the reasons for our concerns, with then leader of the (Victorian) Nationals Peter Ryan, and then federal minister Peter McGauran making several visits and taking an intellectual interest in Devon North.
State and Federal governments have a way to go to ensure that rural residents do not live in constant fear of a windfarm in their backyard. If wind energy is the way to go, the governments must consider their appropriate location and must never forget that the individual has the same rights as the collective society. Fortunately, our Wellington Shire Councillors have respected that.
|THIS IS OF MAJOR CONCERN, NOT ONLY TO THE NEIGHBOURING PROPERTIES, BUT TO ALL OF SOUTH GIPPSLAND AND THE SHIRE OF WELLINGTON. YOU MAY NOT BE PERSONALLY INTERESTED BECAUSE OF THE 'NIMBY' DOCTRINE - IT'S NOT IN MY BACKYARD - BUT THE ANXIETY AND DISRUPTION IN DEVON NORTH CAN HAPPEN IN ANY RURAL REGION, AND WILL HAPPEN AGAIN IN OUR SHIRE AND THE 'ALBERTON' REGION UNLESS ACTION IS TAKEN - NOW. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES AND COMMENT ACCORDINGLY. AND REMEMBER - YOUR TAXES ARE SUBSIDISING THE INDUSTRY - LEARN WHY?|
Beautiful view isn't it?
Now run your mouse over the image.
It has now been announced that SEVEN 124-metre turbines, to the tip of the blade, are proposed.
The maintenance tracks that will scar the land are not shown.
Map of area. A view from my family room (and this is totally acceptable by the VCAT tribunal).
"It is morally reprehensible for a land-owner to gain financial
at the expense of his neighbours."
Paraphrasing Jared Diamond, Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Penguin Books, 2005.
John Etherington, The Wind Farm Scam'. Stacey International Publishing, London, 2009. ISBN 978 1905299 83 6
|Have a look at it SYNERGY
WIND'S website - its not so much what they say but what they don't
say. The principals speak of a dedication to wind energy - no, it appears
more like a dedication to making money through government subsidies - thats
why they havn't started building it yet, two years afteer the VCAT decision
- VCAT gave them FOUR YEARS to commence the project because Synergy Wind
claimed they were uncertain of the (state and federal) subsidies available
at the time. FOUR YEARS!!! And then another two years to construct it.
And if they do they will be in for a shock. An investor would be a fool
to consider Devon North of all places. Independent wind assessments show
that this inland site has not enough wind - both in strength and consistency
- to be economically viable even with a subsidy. The potential investors
would do well to obtain their own evaluation on the financial viability
of the site. Maybe some of them may also consider the morality of defacing
the land within a residential area, and the social and health concerns
that an industrial project such as this has, and will continue to have,
on the eighty or so residents living within 2km of the site. The heath
issue is becoming extremely important - there are enough established windfarms
in Australia now, and the rest of the world, to collate actual health data
and document real health issues which will leave some windfarm operators
and land owners in dire straits when the legal issues are raised. If the
wind farm operators do not evaluate and attend to the health issues they
will be in for some very significant legal actions. There is place for
wind energy in Australia - but not in close residential areas like Devon
North and Carrajung. It is financially absurd, commercial unviable,
morally disgraceful and socially corrupt. Fortunately the state and federal
governments are taking a real interest in these issues.
Interesting note: The landowner has left the property. The residence is being rented. The farm land is being leased separately.
VCAT DECISION RELEASED
DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS
To add to their disgrace, the VCAT tribunal gave Sydnetgy wind an extra two years to get their act together. Sydsnergy Wind asked for this as they had not yet made any applications to the Victorian Government and were waiting to see how the subsidies went. This means that Syenergy Wind have four year, till Chriistmas 2011 before they need to turn a sod; and two years to complete the project. Yes indeed - the public be damned!!!
We may well have lost the battle, but not the war. Legal action is being considered at Supewreme Court level, fortunately not at our expense. And discusions have led to the opportunity to take a class-action against the wind-farm land-owners if the project goes ahead, on grounds that were not covered by VCAT.
DOLLAR WINDFARM REPORT
AMENDED PERMIT APPLICATION
PHOTO MONTAGES IN PREPARATION
VCAT HEARING SET - AGAIN
AND EXPERT WITNESSES ENGAGED FOR VCAT HEARING
REJECTS DEVON NORTH WINDFARM
TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST WINDFARM. [ABC News Online, 15/08/2006, extract]
MULLS NATIONAL PROCESS FOR WIND FARMS. [August 15, 2006, ABC News Online,
WIND PTY LTD have formally submitted their planning application to the
Wellington Shire Council. Objections closed August 3, 2006.
RECENT ACTIVITY, REPORTS AND COMMENT
Annotated Proceedings of the VCAT hearing at Sale, Victoria, 1-3 August 2007.
Objections to proposed windfarm at Glenthompson, near the Grampians, Victoria. [LINK]
More Puff Than Power.
See article by Geoff Strong, The Age newspaper, 10 August 2006,
Macarthur Windfarm objection, by James Lyon: macarthur. This most prefessional report concerns more the dubious benefits of windfarms - technical but absorbing.
Peter McGauran on 'immoral' windfarms.
letters to the Yarram Standard News.
group - Turnis Energy. See
and windfarms. For an interesting discussion see
Threat of defamation, brought by Synergy Wind. Enter here for details.
SITE CONTENT - INTERNAL
|THE WIND ENERGY DEBATE
There are three areas of debate in connection to the establishment of windfarms as a form of universal electrical energy:
1. The economic and environmental value of windfarms.
2. The appropriate placement of windfarms and their effect on the local community.
3. The veracity of the information provided to the public by corporate and political interests.
These matters are covered in the following argument.
The objective of this website is to provide information, and access to further references, and to document concerns and actions in regard to the proposed Devon North windfarm between Ingles Road and Bolgers Road, Devon North, near Yarram. (Also refered to as the Yarram Windfarm by the wind energy company). There should be no secrecy in expressing concerns, whether for or against any proposal. The only request is that anyone commenting on the windfarm proposal, and wind energy in general, be familiar with the subject, and not be distracted by emotion inspite of it being a very emnotional issue, as any such issue may be that affects your lifestyle. Even if you have no interest in wind energy and do not care where these huge 100 metre wind turbines are located, at least be aware of the arguments, and considered that one day, the Day of the Triffid may arrive at a farm near you, but unlike the triffids, the towers will be here to stay.
There is much more information to be provided on this website, and some arguments need to be substantiated with further references. The concerns and arguments offered on this website may not necessarily be applicable to the Devon North windfarm proposal.
The only way to debate any intrusion into your lifestyle by government, industry or private individuals is to have a knowledge of the situation and the concerns, and to communicate. As citizens and members of the wonderful community in the Yarram district, we should be entitled to a say in what affects our way of life and to receive valid information so that we can comment, support or oppose any proposal as we deem appropriate.
In this instance, the windfarm proposal for Devon North, we are hampered in our expectation of consideration for our concerns by two very important situations:
1. The federal and state governments are committed to the introduction of wind energy. That they wish to reduce green-house gases by reducing carbon-dioxide emmissions is commendable, but by suggesting that wind energy is the panacea to achieve this is misleading at best, fraudulent and indeed corrupt at worst. With state and federal governments committed, even local shire governments can be over-ridden as has happened within the South Gippsland Shire boundary, by (now ex) Planning Minister Delahunty laying down her law. Hence any objection to a proposed windfarm will require a fight not only with the wind energy companies and the landowners but also against the state government (in particular), even if the Shire of Wellington (in this instance) is against them, as they should and hopefully will be.
2. Disclosure clauses
in contracts between the wind energy company and the (proposed windfarm)
landowner prevent the landowner from being able to discuss and debate
the proposal, without due authorisation from the wind energy ompany. The
landholder is prevented from speaking publicly to any concerned group (without
permission), and is even prevented from listening to and debating any concerns
that the community may have. In signing such contracts the landholder is
agreeing to refuse to discuss the concerns of the community and as such
could be seen to have turnd their back on their neighbours and the community.
The proposed windfarm landowner can negate this attitude by refusing to
sign a non-disclosure clause (which will not be accepted by the wind energy
company and hence a contract would not be drawn up), or by ensuring that
th wind energy company shows concern for neighbouring residents by active
communication. Money is at stake here, and some a significant amount may
be made by some landholders, at the expense of their neighbour's quality
of life, without any debate. One could question where this stands with
your right of free speach in Australia?
Synergy Wind Pty Ltd.
Synergy Wind Pty Ltd appear
not to have an Australian website. [They do now - see www.synergy-wind.com,
launched in January 2007 (better late than never) by Turnus Energy in Germany].
Go to http://www.turnus.biz
(As of 12 June 2007): The Turnus Energy windsite indicates that Turnus Energy is responsible for the project management of several wind farm projects being developed by Synergy Wind Pty Ltd. There is no indication of where these 'several' windfarms are located. Even the Yarram Windfarm is not mentioned specifically. Nor is there any indication of what other windfarms Turnus Energy hve been involved in. In an attempt to determine more about Turnu Energy, the 'contact us' link mentions only Christian Spitzner, 'an entrepreneur and founder of several companies', who appears to have been somwhat of an internet whiz in his early days. There is no indication that Spitzner has had prior experience in wind-energy.
Graeme and Lyn Helleren.
Concerned Residents of
Federal, State and Local
Owners of land between Ingles Road and Bolgers Road, Devon North, ten kilometres from Yarram in South Gippsland, are proposing a windfarm development of some six to ten wind turbines on their property. A fifty meter windtower has been erected on the property. The land is the property of L. & G. Helleren.
Needless to say, neighbouring property owners are vitally concerned about many issues that will affect their way of life and their right to quiet and safe enjoyment of their own residential property.
What makes this wind farm proposal somewhat disturbing is that there are many neighbouring properties which are totally residential, that is, the land is residential only. The surrounding area is not all 'farmland', nor pine forest. A dozen or so residences along Bolgers Road were constructed because of their location and view south toward the ocean and Wilsons Promontory. This section of the road is, for all intents and purposes, a 'residential area', classified as rural-residential. The owners have built or aquired their home on the basis that they may enjoy the right of a quiet existence with fine rural and distant ocean views. One residential property in Ingles Road was purchased under the sole incentive of the excellent rural view, quiet existence, and proximity to the township of Yarram in order to raise a child, and continue a profession as an author. Others on Bolgers Road were built to enjoy a quet rural environment away from the metropolis of Melbourne and indeed the township of Yarram.
Will you be affected? Do you need to be concerned ?
Even if a windfarm is not currently proposed for your immediate area, you will be affected in some way, minor or major, be it social attitude or perhaps a fiancial one. By reading the following document you will be better able to determine for yourself just where you stand, ethically, intelligently, socially, financially.
And consider this - if you live on a rural property or on the edge of town - walk around your property and have a look at the view. Where could a windfarm be sited. If you have a landscape view to the hills or the coast, you are propably on a hill. The very hill that your residence is built could have a windfarm. The very hills and coastline that you are looking at could have a windfarm. No-one is immune to their intrusion into your way of life. And remember, residential properties two kilometers away from a windfarm experience sound disturbance, and even residence seven kilometers away have complained.
Please note: The specific issues raised here are discussed in general terms and may be applicable to any windfarm proposal. Where they are specific to the Devon North proposal, there is indication of such; and each section concludes with a specific reference to its perceived applicability to Devon North.
There are three main issues that may be debated in relation to the introduction of wind energy:
The value of wind energy
in direct terms of reducing carbon emmisions in Victoria is debateable.
The ideology that it will reduce greenhouse gases (in this instance in
eastern Victoria) by the reduction of the burning of brown coal in the
LaTrobe Valley, is flawed. Power stations such as Loy Yang will not decrease
their use of coal simply because the power station needs to continue to
operate at full capacity to ensure that Victoria (and the greater grid)
recieves the electrical energy needed to sustain the demands of industry
and residences. More on this debate later. It is in many respects a separate
wider issue, particularly considering that your taxes are helping to prop
up the wind energy industry.
Windfarms are subsidised by the state government.
Gippslanders should be concerned about this and take the time and effort
to understand the costs, in both financial and social terms, of wind energy.
The Bracks government was instructed by the Federal government to provide at least 2% of their (electrical) energy needs by the use of renewable energy. In his generally off-the-cuff way, Premier Bracks has offered a 10% figure, without considering the ramifications of many thousands of wind turbines across the country. But more disturbing is that the state government has not indicated how it will go about to reduce the carbon emissions by, presumably, reducing the burning of brown coal in the LaTrobe Valley. Where are the figures that state that by such-and-such a year, Loy-Yang and Yallorn will reduce their consumption by the amount that would be required to generate the same amount of electricity that the wind farms would produce. Consider that each turbine produces no more than 2 Megawatts of electricity, one thousand wind generators would produce only 2,000 Megawatts - but thats not taking into account their (in)efficiency factors which reduces the actual figure to 720 Megawatt. The Bracks Government has set a target of producing 1000 megawatts of electricity using wind power by 2006. In 2003 the Latrobe Valley generated 6,000 megawatts (currently 7,500 megawatts - so we are consuming more power). In the UK 1,030 wind turbines deliver only 180 megawatts - and in an average winter need the amount of 50,000 megawatts. And note: If the Bracks government has, therefore, a target of 1000 megawatts - why does the government not translate this in real terms and equate it to a reduction of a specific amount of brown coal burnt (and thus a specific amount of carbon emmissions reduced). Will indeed Yallourn and Loy Yang be phased down by 2006. In Germany, where there are no fewer than 14,500 wind turbines, not a single fossil-fuel power station has been decommissioned. It is interesting to note that in the document Latrobe 2021 - The Vision for Latrobe Valley, there appears to be no mention of a reduction in the output from Yallourn nor Loy Yang.
Note: The Bracks Labour government has just a few months ago (July 2005) renewed the coal burning licence to the Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley for the next THIRTY YEARS. There was no clause relevant to winding down coal consumption as a result of wind energy electricity generation (nor any other renewable energy source for that matter).
Some argument has been raised about the environmental cost of actually constructing and installing the wind turbines - in terms of energy used and thus carbon emmisions due to factory emmisions, vehicles and transport, and erection machinery, and in manufacture of the materials (steel and fibreglass), and fabrication. Although any debate on the 'benefits' of wind energy should consider such 'losses', it has been evaluated that only 2% of the rated value of carbon emmisions saved by running a wind turbine, as a result of not burning fossil fuels, should be deducted.
Further concerns for consideration: Cost benefits, Installation costs, Employment consideration. Why are windfarms in England being dismantled?
The main social concerns are parochial. These are serious social issues that affect not only those who experience the degration of their quality of life due to the proximility of windfarms, but also to the wider community issue where the lack of communication, and the 'need for greed' as it has been described, has divided communities. If its not in your backyard, then why be concerned? Apart from the need to be concerned about all your neightbours, including those who propose windfarms, there is the great expectation that one day, it could indeed be your backyard. The following issues will be further debated as facts are provided and experienced.
Neighbouring property values ARE diminished in real terms immediately a wind farm is proposed, let alone being built. The interest in a propewrty diminishes immeditely, to the extent in some instances of NO interest, which in tern equates to the value of the property. Where interest in the property is encouraged, a reduction in price, ie its real value, is need to maintain interest and derive a sale. There is documnted evidence of property devaluation, and in one instance, a property of $460 was reduced by 30% to $320,000. It has been indiated that property values will drop by at least $100,000. Now consider this. It is the residence and its residential land that is devalued, not so much the farm land. Arable land, and land for animal husbandry, is not expected to be devalued, as the use for the land continues, all other factors considered. It is the HOME, the residence, that takes the devaluatiuon simply because it has a lesser attraction for someone to LIVE there. So, take the following scenario. If a windfarm has say five neighbours, and the land is all arable or animal husbandry, and there are no residences on the property or within an affected distance, there is no perceivable drop in land value if the activity for which the land is used does not change or is not inconvenienced. But imagine in a separate scenario that just twenty houses - HOMES - are near and direct neighbours and they are indeed affected by the placement of the turbines, then we have a potential loss of property value of TWO MILLION dollars. This is turn reflects on the rate revue that can be collected. And of course, it reflects back on the community as a whole as the shire has less revenue to use effectively. What about the increase in value of the land on which the turbines are placed? Is this land more or less valuable? If it brings in a substantial extra revenue over and above what it was previously used for, it seems logical that it must.increase the value of the land. But to what extent, if indeed anything at all. An actual situation exists at Toora whereby a landowner said, "well, if the neighbours are into it, I may as well have a turbine or two on my small property". They were duly constructed. For whatever personal reason, perhaps it was the noise or flicker or whatever, the resident decided to sell. But there were no takers. The reason is obvious. The revenue from one or two turbines is under $15,000 per annum. Who in their right mind threfore would buy such a property, considering the inconvenience of the visual intrusion, noise and flicker perhaps, for such a small annual revenue. The value of the property certainly did not rise because of the turbines, and in the worst scenario, if the there are no buyers and the residence is virtually unliveable, then the value of the property is ZERO.
The point to be made here is that the governments must give due consideration to the appropriate location of windfarms in a populated area where residents are directly affected. To repeat, a resident has the right of enjoyment of a quiet existence. There is no argument on that, although the lawyers for the wind energy companies have already made the morally absurb, but legally correct claim that if you live in the country, you can expect anything to happen on a neighbours land providing they, the neighbour, has a permit. "And we have a permit to build a windfarm, so you have no right to complain. You should have been aware that if a permit is provided, some action that may not suit you, can go ahead". In other words, your protest has no validity as you should be aware thay anything could happen provided a permit is issued. :And the government has instructed the shire to provide a permit, so we dont really care what you think." (Paraphrased comment from the Dollar Windfarm panel hearing.)
If all else fails - there is a matter of common law that if an owner's land value diminishes as a result of an action by a neighbour, that neighbour can be sued for causing the devaluation. This is currently been investigated and as there are precedents, it may indeed be a straight forward legal argument that an individual may take, or a class action, against the owner of the windfarm land. And it is understood that the litigation is against the landholder, not the wind energy company. It will certainly bcome an issue when the local council reduces rates as has been done by the South Gippsland Council. More on this as further details are determined.
And a comment from AusWEA: (I paraphrase) - "There is no devaluation of property as a result of a neighbouring windfarm. It may take longer to sell, but eventually it will sell. Its just a matter of time, not value". How credible is that!!!
Qualification: (of the
aspect of devaluation): Any local land valuer, or estate agent can
provide a practical judgement. Various panel reports and newspaper articles.
Sound - Noise.
There is the misconception, and indeed a mischievous misconception, that the wind turbines cause no noise. "After all, if the wind is blowing and the blades are moving, then all you will hear is the wind rustling through the trees anyway". Thats the sort of debate that is totally inconclusive and destructive.And it is not a claim made by the Dollar Wind Farm company in their documentation. They have the courtesy to admit that: Noise levels have been predicted at all residences in the site and immdiate surrounds. It is an important issue.
Noise, insofar as windfarms are concerned, is created by several factors:
Compression noise - the 'whoosh, whoosh' noise as the individual blades pass by the column, resulting from a compression-decompression of the air pocket which causes the sound.
Blade tip noise - some noise can sometimes be heard due to the tips of the blades whizzing through the air at around 215 kmh. Does this sound incredibly fast to you? You could work this out based on a blade radius of 50 metres and 25 rotations a minute, but it is also quoted in AusWEA documents.
Turbine noise - from the turbines themselves - the gears and generator. Initially these should be rather quiet, particuarly if you are standing beneath a tower. After all, what better place to check out the sound of a wind tower by standing next to it? Wrong - totally wrong. More of that later. The gears and turbine should work nice and quiet when they are new, insofar as a listener on the ground is concerned, but what happens after a year or two as several tons of equipment grinds itself into the ground so to speak. Will the equipment be maintained to reduce noise? I would think that that would be on a low priority as far as the wind energy company is concerned.
Low frequency machine hum - this is perhaps the more insidious. Is the very low frequency hum that such turbines generate, a 'noise' that is imperceptable if one 'listens for it', but a noise that literally penetrates the home and brain and can cause considerable irritability without even knowing the cause. Try sleeping at night with the constrant drone of an engine in the distance. Being annoying is one thing, but having it affect your health is a much more serious matter. This problem of low-frequency noise emitted by the turbines has led to well-documented cases of long-term depression and illness in Cornwall and in north Wales. No doubt we will find similar studies of such intrusion into out health and wellbeing over the next fews years here in Victoria. There are also reports of a high pitched whine that travls over a great distance and can be heard several kilometres away.
'Generator house' noise - have you noticed that thecompanies proposing wind energy do not make an issue of the 'generator building' - some dont even mention it in their documents. This is actually a building sited near the wind turbines. It does not 'generate' electricity - that is done by the individual generators in the nacelle of the windmill - the top bit behind the blades. The 'generator house' collects the electrical energy so to speak from each of the windturbines and 'bundles' them into the required voltage for 'insertion' into the local power grid. The inappropriate location of a 'generator house' could be a neighbour's worst nightmare.
are technical papers and survey studies available but the best is to experience
it for yourself from neighbouring properties, especially residences, and
to speak with neighbours who have sound intrusion. Noise is a factor that
not even the wind generation companies attempt to deny. A visit to the
wind energy company office at Meniyan will provide an honest answer - THERE
IS NOISE - and it can be considerable. Just how much is the interesting
point. And dont think for a moment that just standing under a wind tower
will give you a clear indication of 'noise'. You need to visit various
locations at various day under variou climatic condition. And thats just
what the neighbours experience in any case, so talk to them. And surprising
as it sounds, wind turbines have been heard seven kilometres away when
there is hardly a whisper within a matter of yards.
Note: A representative of the then unidentified wind energy company entered the land owned by a neighbour to the proposed windfarm location, with the neighbours permission it should be added, and took 'readings'. The neighbour thought that these were ambient sound readings and was concerned that a tractor was indeed labouring away some three hundred metres distant. On questioning this with the proposed windfarm owner, the neighbour was told that the man was taking GPS readings. This begs the question as to why GPS readings were required on several points of the neighbours property. It does not make sence. But ambient sound readings - yes, they need to be taken right on the property, at different locations in relation to the residence, so that the record reflects the situation specifically at the neighbour's property. No doubt such readings were taken at Toora, but it does not seem to have mde any difference - the noise still persists irrespective of the readings. And furthermore, will the neighbours have access to these readings taken before and after the turbines are in operation, and if readings are taken after the turbines are in operation, with they be taken at a prominent time when the noise is significant.
The Dollar Windfarm Report indicates that a typical wind turbine 350 metres away will create more noise than a quiet bedroom which thus infers that the sound from a wind turbine will indeed be heard when attempting to sleep. It is stated that such a 'typical turbine' rates at around 40 dB, whereas a 'quiet bedroom' is around 25 dB. It could be argued that the sound in your bedroom could nearly double as a result of a wind turbine at 350 metres. If annecdotal evidence is insufficient, s it would be in a court o law, it is not difficult to measure sound. But there is overwhelming annecdotal evidenc that when matters reach the courts, the evidence must be considered. And if 'minor noise increases' are dismissed as trivial, there is plenty of evidence that turbine noise is disruptive to the point of health risk, anxiety, sleep depravation and annoyance. One landowner statement in the Toora hills developmen indicates that the family cannot open their windows on a still summer night because of the noise, and have fitted blinds to overcome the flicker - and the turbines are about two kilometers away.
AusWEA admits to wind turbine noise being of consideration, although 'they are not noisy in operation'. However, they state that noise considerations are what normally determines the 'set backs' from residences. 'Setback distances range from about 400 metres to 1 km or more, according to a variety of factors'. These factors are 'the noise standards prscribed, local topography, prevailing wind conditions and the wind farm layout'. In another document AusWEA state 'wind turbine do make noise'' but 'they are much quieter thn people expect'. Which people - those on a casual visit or those who have to live with them. And would you believe that AusWEA actually state that, "It is possible to carry out a normal conversation at the base of a turbine running at maximum power, without raising one's voice'. Thats sounds encouraging, except that it does not address the question of the volume and type of sound. One can also whisper sweet nothings to a partner in a bedroom with a truck engine idling on the roadway but you wouldn't want to live with it all the time. It could be distracting! AusWEA lets itself down tremendously with spurious argument like this.
AusWEA also state categorically that ,'When there is little or no wind, a wind turbine does not operate and therefore produces no noise'. This is misleading. It is true that the wind turbine does not operate but the blades still turn for the engineering reasons mentioned. According to AusWEA's pwn chart, the indicative noise level of a wind farm at 350 metres is the same as a busy road at 5 km (35-45 db(A), and just 10 db(A) less than a car at 65 kmpm at 100 metres. Thus it goes without saying that anyone who transfers to the country for a quiet environment is not going to be hppy with the sound of a busy road, even at 5 km distance. And indeed, why should a country resident have to tolerate ANY increase in noise. AusWEA state that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) 'will issue guidelines for noise limits nd recommend standard methods to use in predicting and measuring noise'. However, the setting of a noise level criteria is the responsibility of 'the relevant Regulatory Authority', which, it is understood, is the local council.
Specific to Devon North:
Some residences will be as close as 400 metres. Others are in a geographical
location such that surrounding hills will channel and echo sound, and will
certainly receive low frequency noise.
This is a terrible environmental situation to have to live with - and some residents do. Flicker is the passing shadow of the blade. It can be perceptable several kilometres away, sometimes too slight for the mind to register as a change of light pattern, but not too imperceptable for the brain to register. More needs to be determined on the subtle effect on the brain, but no research is needed to see how it can drive you crazy if you are in your lounge room attempting to relax. And it may not only be direct flicker - in your eyes, so to speak. It could be landscape flicker, where the shadow on the ground pulsates as each blade momentarily blocks out the sun. If the landscape is part of your view, the effect is soul destroying. Again it is something that is rarely discussed. Government guidelines request that a flicker model be conducted but one could be excused for having doubts that this is always done. And of course, once the towers are up they won't be coming down, no matter what the protests.
AusWEA recognise that flicker and shadow can be a problem and that, 'The potential for shadow and flicker at residences should be assessed and minimised". Note - minimised, not eliminated. They also note that, 'the landscape character needs to be considered along with assessment of the primary views of that prticular landscape and the values the community ascribes to it'.
can only be expereinced. A documentary film is avilable showing how devastating
this can be to the quaility of living within an affected residence.
This concerns the reflection of the sun from the blades, and is experienced as a strobe effect that varies in the visible location as the sun moves. If directed toward a residence, the stobe effect would 'track' across a window or room for example during certain times of the day and season, and is of course dependant on weather conditions. Manufacturers of the blades are supposed to use material that prevent glint, but they have not been totally effective. This is another insidious effect of the turbines and is not generally documented in the proposals offered by wind energy companies.
experience it. This can be difficult at times for a visitor to a location
as the strobe effect tracks across the landscape, but is certainly apparent
to an ever-present resident as it tracks across a home.
You either hate them or loathe them - okay, some people may even like them, and young children think they are wonderful. When I first heard my young son call out 'Telletubbies" when he saw them at Toora, I thought he was refering to the bureaucrats that allow such monstrosities to be built. He was of course refering to the childrens TV program which features such windmills. Unfortuantely most of us do not live in a Telletubby world and would prefer not to see them - not up close anyway. Those who see them at close quarters for the first time are amazed at their gigantic size - 100 metres and thats just for the column - thats a twenty-five story building, the highest structures in rural South Gippsland. Photographs cannot do justice to their immensity. And only when dozens and indeed hundreds of them are seen sprouting across the green hills and an the hill horizon do you start to appreciate how intrusive they are. To the passing tousist they can be an amusement, just as I once viewed them at Toora. "Hey, the don't look so bad, whats all the fuss about", I said initially, and then was quite pleased to see them at subsequent times because it brought some joy to my son. My attitude has changed. As I talk with people who live with these towers in their backyards, and experience for myself their intrusion into what was once a beautiful Gippsland landscape, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Many people, including those on Bolgers Road, have built specifically for a view - toward Wilsons Promontory, or east toward Yarram and the Ninety Mile Beach, or inland, with views of rolling hills and forests. They have that right. Imagine, as some people now do, and others soon will, of being greeted by literally a wall of 100 metre windmill turbines between yourself and the setting sun over the hills and toward the Prom. This is not what Gippsland living is all about. See further comments under The Moral Issue below.
AusWEA recognises that 'the
visual aspects which will tend to dominate debate'. On the siting of a
proposed windfarm, AusWEA states the need for:
for yourself. And then go home and look out from you patio,
and imagine what it would be like to be confronted by a dozen white seventy
metre columns and a further thirty-five metre height once you add the blades,
right in front of you. Okay, your location may be such that windfarms are
not an immediate intrusive threat, but what about some consideration for
those who do have to put up with it, day in, day out. And when the sun
goes down, these is still the noise.
This concerns electromagnetic radition (EMR), and radio frequency EMR refered to as RF. We need to find out more as there does not seem to be much documentation. It concerns the interference with varying frequency waves as required for mobile phone and television reception. It is of concern that the positioning of wind turbines in line with transmittors and receptors will affect mobile phone and/or telephone reception. The wind energy companies need to make the situation clear.
AusWEA state that the impact of EMRs (in reltion to windfarms) is 'relatively minor', and that 'any interference can be minimised or elimated through a combination of appropriate turbine siting and special technical solutions.' Thats fine, but the problem will only be known when the turbine tower has been built, and I am ertain that any request to move the tower ten feet to the right will not be accepted. The question is, what preliminary study will Synergy Wind perform to determine that radio, mobile phon and television transmission will not be degraded or eliminated. AusWEA states categorically that, 'Care must be taken (by the developer) to ensure that wind turbines do not passively interfere with these facilities by directly obstructing, reflecting or refracting th RF EMR signals from these facilities. There is also potential for a wind turbine to actively interfere by producing its own low energy RF signal.' AusWEA also state that, 'It (television interference) cannot however be completely discounted for houses within a few kilometrs of turbines'. This is totally unsatisfactory. AusWEA state that, 'In the unlikely evnt that a problem arises ovr time at a particular site, the wind farm operator will usually be able to rectify it...' Who would pay for an ungrade or repositioning of an aerial, if indeed that in itself could resolve the problem. As it is the windfarm landowner who has caused the disruption by permitting the wind turbines to be erected, it is the landowner who is open to litigation.
formal data, experience is the only qualification. AusWEA admit that interference
will only be known after installation of the turbines.
Again we need more information, but it has been mentioned that at times, the amount of electrical energy (power) generated can be such that the leader lines into the grid become so overloaded that the electromagnetic radiation emanating as a result of the high current load can be a significant health hazard. We need more information on this, but the situation has been described as similar to living within close proximity to high-tension cabling and towers such that transmit energy from the Latrobe Valley to Melbourne. This could be a serious poblem for residents living near the feeder lines.
specific at present. Need to be better educated.
Enviroment and wildlife concerns.
The wombats will have a lot of trouble digging through three metres deep of concrete. Thats the good news. The other news is not so good, especially for birds. The Ballarat windfarm proposal was knocked on the head because of the potential disruption to the habitat of eagles. I don't think anyone seriously believes that two eagles could bring down a multi-million commercial operation, but thats the reason given by the state government to back off. Could it be that the windfarm proposal was causing so much local anxiety that the state government thought it better to back off because the Ballarat electorate is a marginal seat. Well, the Devon North proposal will test the state governments convictions. The Devon North region where the windfarm is proposed is a habitat for Wedge Tail Eagles - and the Powerful Owl and a number of species of parrot and of course other more common birds. The proposed windfarm land borders a valley surrounded by tall native trees and pine forest. On any clear day you can find great pleasure in seeing the eagles soar and circle over the land. Eagles, owls, ducks, and the crane family are frequent visitors for this is their home. It will be interesting to see how much weight 'the eagle situation' has on the Devon North proposal - because it lies in a safe National seat. There is not much the state government can do here to win votes, so this electorate is an ideal place to cause disruption as it will not affect them in real terms politically. (Remember the toxic waste dump that was proposed for Gippsland).
AusWEA admits that 'bird deaths (were) blow levels predicted and accepted during wind farm approvals', for farms at Codrington, Woolnough and King Island. The measured rate of mortlity was 'between 0.23 and 2.7 birds pr turbine per year, non of which was a rare, threatened or endangered species'. It defies argument logic that AusWEA is prepared to accept a figure that is 'better than predicted' - that is, their own prediction. The positive news, as expressed by AusWEA, is that 'Putting this into perspective, millions of birds are killed by cars and other man made structuresd every year'. Well, that makes me feel a bit better!!! And, if birds are not an issue, why did th Victorian government quash th Ballarat windfarm maiing mention of the disruption to a pair of breeding eagles.
experince is one thing, but we need to have further documentation, of species,
quantity and environmental impact on the bird habitat.
Regular Access - roads.
Once erected, the turbines will require regular maintenance. To what extent this will occur is in the lap of the Gods. This will mean use of local road infrastructure. The inconvenience may not be significant, but it must be questioned. The wind energy companies are not forthcoming in their statistics for maintenance, which would indicate frequency of access. And this is the time to note another falacy that has been previously mentioned - the Turning of the Blades. Sounds like a bad movie. How many times have you been told that when the wind doesn't blow, the blades dont turn, and thus therefore there can be no noise? Then think back - how many times have you seen the Toora blades not moving even on a dead calm day? Well, they always move, unless under maintenance or 'switched off' for any other reason. If there is no wind, the turbines withdraw electricity from the very grid that they are supposed to enhance, to drive the blades at a slow rate. They need to do this for engineering requirements, or more specifically, to reduce maintenance and increase the life of the machinery. The turbines and gears sitting in the hub weigh several tons, and the blades also exert several tons as a cantilever force on the gears. If the blades were stationary for any period of time, the constant force on just the one (stationary) part of the gears and turbines would cause the metal to fail and the turbine to break down rapidly. To keep the blades moving results in an even wear on all parts of the machinery. I guess there is another reason also. Government representatives driving past may get a bit upset if they dont see their bureaucratic interference merrily working away.
AusWEA documentation states
that a wind farm developer must look for:
is obvious that maintenance is required. It has been stated that at least
one turbine at Toora is down at any one time.
Won't this be fun. How the contruction company will get a heavy semi-trailer down Ingles Road beats me. I have no idea how long the sections are, but when you are building a seventy meter tower, you want to do in as few sections as possible. Ingles Road is out of the question unless the road is reconstructed. And Bolgers Road is just as difficult. Whatever happens, changes to the road, in terms of width and surface, will be needed, but it does not seem possible to do this without removing more than just a few trees. But wait a minute - the shire cannot do that. A query just recently about the condition of Old Whitelaws Track (another possible access route to Ingles and Bolgers Road), was discussed with council in regard to its condition - its width and surfacing, considering the road's'frequent use, and as a school bus route. There have been several bad accidents on the road but no one has been hurt - as yet. The shire's response, although one of understanding, was that 'it was extremely difficult to remove a tree'. And that response was in regard to a query on avoiding accidents and saving lives. So the shire will not readily widen Bolgers Road for example - unless they are told to do so by the state government. And who would pay for this? The shire of course - the government isn't going to readily hand over any compensation. So its comes out of the shire's revenue and thus the community pays for it. Then once access is provided, there is the safety consideration of the presence of construction trucks and concrete trucks on what will always be a narrow road. And then there is the noise of truck access and construction. And it will take quite a few concrete truck to construct the foundation. This is not going to be a pleasant time for anyone.
The local residents and farmers will be most pleased, I think not.
Don't they look nice and new and shiny and white. Go to Flinders and Kind Islands for your next holiday. They are great places to visit and the friendly natives will offer the greatest hospitality as is their wont. And have a look at their wind turbines. You'll know where they are, even with your eyes closed. The King Island wind terminal has, it is understood, not been maintained for several years. Apart from being a visual eyesore, it sounds like a truck attempting to roar up Powers Hill. If there is a noise factor now, imagine what it will be like when the turbines and more importantly the gears are several years old. Toora towers have already had some, perhaps all, of their turbines replaced but nobody seems to know why. Replacement if they dont work is one thing, but when does the maintenance schedule kick in to lessen noise. The wind companies will not present their maintenance schules to the general public, so perhaps the State government needs to ask the hard questions.
is obviously required.
Tourism and visitor access.
The comment above as per use of the dirt-road infrastructure for maintenance is applicable once again. There will be visitors wanting to have a look at this windfarm, as there currently is from those wanting to know exactly where the windfarm is located. This means extra use of the roads. Under normal considerations, the use would be insignificant but here we are talking about narrow gravel roads, one-way bridges and tight blind corners - not properly surfaced wide roads. Ingles and Bolgers Roads are unmade and not constructed for tourist traffic. The result of extra use could be quite significant, both from the view point of the residents, and the road itself.
AusWEA state that 'hundreds of thousands of people visit Australian wind afrms each year', and use these figures as a positive argument for windfarms in that 'it attracts tourism'. If ever the credibility of AusWEA is at stake, this is a prime example of illogical argument. 'Some of these are casual observers who stop at roadside interpretive centres or displays. Others pay to participate in organised tours. In a number of cases, tourists are able to walk right up to the base of the tower, gaining a full appreciation of their size and the power generated by these machines.' No doubt this is true - and how many say, thank God I dont have one of these in my backyard. AusWEA are obviously not familiar with the tourist industry and have no idea what sustainable tourism is all about. AusWEA jump on the 'tourism' bandwagon to support their claim of the beauty and wonder of the windfarm concept without having any idea of what they are writing about, and have used the tourism argument mischievously to support their own means. They quote figures in Scotland and England where '94% of visitors to North Cornwall' have stated that the presence of windfarms would not prevent them from visiting again. Let's reinterpret this. Tourists go to North Cornwall because of the natural beauty and ambience of the place, the stunning countryside, seascapes and the delightful seaside towns. Six percent of the tourism revenue has been eliminated because these people will not go back there again. This to me is not a positie outcome.
AusWEA admit that eight percent of potential tourists (in Victoria) would be detered from visiting an area having wind generators - and surprisingly, 36% 'were more likely to visit a coastal area if it had a wind farm'. I bet they would only do it once. A further 55% said it would make no difference.
is obvious that both curiosity and concern will drawn some attention.
Statistics - and damn statistics!
Did you know that 94% of 'respondents' to a Victorian poll described wind generators as 'interesting', and 74% as 'graceful', according to AusWEA. Furthermore, few people have described them as 'industrial'. . A 2002 survey 'also showed that 95% of respondents supported the construction of more wind farms. Most people would support the installation of more wind turbines as they see it as a means of 'clean' energy, but one wonders how many 'respondents' had to live with the windfarms in their community, and how many knew anything about the true value of current wind energy projects, and the cost to the community both financially and socially. AusWEA do not quote the respondent population. Such figures and intimidation by AusWEA do nothing to enhance the quality of the debate.
Landowner - Wind Energy Company Contract.
The contract is very much in favour of the wind energy company. The non-disclosure clause is prticularly insidious and prevents the landower from speaking on anything to do with the contract and the project. This flies in the face of the right to free speach, but it is obviously there to protect the wind energy company, who, of course, impose their own self restrictions according to their needs. Some wind energy companies are prepard to face their detractors, and others choose to hide behind a legal firewall. The landholder should read the fine print. Once signed up, the landholder is unable to easily change his/her mind. The contract states in effect that if the wind energy company is satisfied that a proposal for a wind farm is commercially viable ( a decision they alone will mde after wind monitoring), then it will go ahead, even if the landholder has had time to rethink the issue, and changes his/her mind. However - there is a legal possibility to void the contract, and a team of lawyers in Melbourne are prepared to take on a case for landowner who wishes to void the contract. Detractors of a proposal should not accept a proposed windfarm landowners plea that perhaps he/she has made a mistake, and that they cannot do anything about it because now, 'as we are locked in to a contract'. Rubbish. The contract can be legally voided, and in some instances, a wind energy company may decide not to proceed with the project for whatever reason, generally because of community demand and a priority with other projects.
and expereinces by Prom Guardians representativs.
Risks - fire, aviation, lightning.
AusWEA documents farm safety issues, and the risk of fire, impact on general aviation and recreational aviation, and risk of lightning strike. none of these concerns appear to be detrimental to the devon North windfarm proposal.
And what happens when it is all over, twenty-five years down the track, or perhaps if we come to our senses and realise what a waste of time and energy (no pun intended) these wind turbines are in our country. Don't tell me - the wind energy company will come along and pull down the towers, and cart them away to be disposed of, environmentally of course, and dig up the three-metre deep foundations and fill in the hole, sow a bit of grass on top. If you really think this will happen, then please, enjoy the windmills of your mind for you are really in Tele-tubby land.
me the contract that says what the wind energy company needs to do on termination.
I defy the state government to do a cost estimate on the 'deconstruction'
of the turbines and foundation and the restoration of the land'. I defy
the government to demand this payment per tower, to be placed into a special
ledger, with interest paid to the wind energy company - less an 'administrative
fee' of course - lets not leave the banks out of this - and to also index
the amount each year so that the money will be available when the company
mysteriously disappears or is 'bankrupt'. Can you imagine what the Victorian
countryside will be like with fifteen thousand potentially rusting
monstrosities? The safety hazard would be enormous, let alone the aethetics.
Wind Energy Developer Responsibility - Communication and Compliance with Standards and Laws.
In respect of the Dollar Wind Farm proposal near Foster, the company, Dollar Wind Farm Pty Ltd, have made available a substantial amount of literature and have an office operating out of Meniyan. In other words, they are visible and contactable, which is the first requirement for any debate. In reference to the Devon North proposal, we do not know who the wind energy company is - at the moment. This means there can be no debate, no dissemination of information, no contact what so ever. The proposed windfarm landholders have not been forthcoming in stating who these people are, and on entering one property the windfarm developers did not offer this information nor provided a business card. Apart from the lack of communication, there are concerns that if the company is not visible, as is Dollar Wind Farm Pty Ltd, then this must raise concerns about their credibility and willingness to enter into dialogue with neighbour's, to consider their concerns, and to conform to the standards that are laid down by the state government, and local council. They will have to be identified sometime - what are they afraid of.
Apart from the need to comply with local, common and statue law, there seems to be few guidelines within which the developer is requird to operate. There are Australian standards for noise, and flicker, and no doubt standards regarding electromagnetic radiation, but little else. The need to effectively communicate with all those affected by a proposed windfarm seems not to be required, with Synergy Wind (for example) communicating with neighbours several months after the wind monitoring tower was installed. When this lack of communication was expressed to the landowners, the comment was along the lines that the windtower was only for monitoring and there was nothing definate happening as yet. This vagueness leads to community anxiety and unrest, and sets up an immediate barrier of distust not only with the wind energy company but also the landowner. AusWEA state that for (wind energy) developers,'The first step is to identify the neighbours to a proposed wind farm site .... and through consultation the developer should familiarise themselves with the visual settings that members of the community and special interest groups value.' Synergy Wind have not done this (to date, October 2005), and no company member has visited any of the residences that adjoin the proposed Devon North windfarm.
AusWEA also state that, 'During and sometimes prior to the planning application stages, developers are required to prepare photo montages (computer simulations) of how the wind farm will appear from these important view points.' Synergy Wind have not provided such montages (as of October 2005) and speculation is that they hve not been done. The montage at the start of this website was prepared by one of the neighbours, and is only one of perhaps thirty or forty that need to be done to cover the aspect from residences and scenic vantage points.
AusWEA also recommends, 'Extensive community consultation on turbine placement. And if possible, important view points should be agreed with the community early in the process. Synergy hv had NO community consultation (to October 2005).
Specific to Devon North: The company has now been identified. 'Neighbours' have been advised that a representative of the company has been appointed (probably an idependant 'consultant'), and that dialogue will take place when the Devon North project apears to be a goer, based on wind monitoring measurements. As monitoring may take twelve month at least, it would be desireable to meet with the representative sooner, rather than when the windfarm is a fait acompli. Note that Synergy Wind hve not complied with the guidelines as laid down by AusWEA.
Personal Family Health - Anxiety, Sleep Deprivation, Cerebral Dosorders.
Have no doubt that the constrution of a windfarm, and in particular the proximity of a windfarm, will affect your health in some way. Indeed, it may be just a minor irritation, or a time-consuming debate. But there will be some concern, from the relatively insignifacnt to a major health breakdown.
Anxiety is just one factor. This is a concern. The stories that one hears from those involved in the existing Toora windfarms, and the proposed Bald Hills and Dollar windfarms are saddening. There are familiies not speaking with each other, sons who dont speak to their fathers, neighbours that are actively hostile to each other, people who avoid each other in the street, bomb threats (yes, a bomb threat occured at Mirboo North which brought in a squad of police), idle and real threats against person and property. This should not occur in any community, especially small rural communities where co-operation within the community is not only required for peaceful co-existence, but is also the key to survival. Thats why it so important for the local government - the shire - and the state government, to take an exceptionally close look at how this business of wind energy affects the people. It is not just petty bitterness between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' that is frequenty touted as the reason for any unrest. It goes so far beyond this. And it hits everyone concerned - even those who stand to profit financially from the intrusion of wind turbines on their own property. I know of one man who has quit his job to fight against the intrusion of a windfarm in his community simply to protect he and his family and his neighbours from the intrusion. Every homeowner who is confronted with an actual windfarm or a proposal for such will feel stress and anxiety to a varying level. Every one. Just talk to them and see - and feel - for yourself.
Just a day before this was written, a man spent an hour speaking on the phone to a gentleman at Foster about the ramifications of the Toora windfarm and how it had affected his familiy and so many others. At the end of the conversation he was phyically shaking, and in the office buried his face in his hands and cried. That man had moved to a wonderful location on a small acreage in a modest house with a fine rural view in order to raise his family. Now that dream may be shattered. And for what? Even if the cause of his anxieties are not realistic, the anxiety itself is realistic.
Sleep deprivation is used as one of the most effective forms of torture. Intruding anmd incessant noise can lead to sleep disorders. The concernf of turbine and blade noise had been documented elsewhere. There are local and state laws that protect the health well-being of a resident, and any neighbour causing such a serious health problem as disrupted sleep can be held accountable. Property owners who have allowed windturbines to be erected on their land should be aware of the position of serious litigation that they have placed themselves in. Most councils have a brochure outlining aspects of neighbour co-operation and existence. If noise affects your health, it must is taken most seriously by council, even if the noise results from a 'legal' activity, and it is significant in effect. The option of abandoning or selling the family home is a last resort which has been done by some at Toora and no doubt elsewhere, and leads to the foundation of ligitagation against the wind energy company and the wind-farm landowner. And it is important to stress that the landholder is also directly liable, and cannot hind behind the legalities of the wind-energy company.
Cerebral disorders come in
a number of insidious forms and are part of our lives. Epilepsy is common,
autism perhaps just as much, less so Asbergers Syndrome. Many, probably
most elipeltics are seriouly affected by any strobe light effect. Relate
this to the strobe effect caused by wind-blade flicker (mentioned elsewhere)
and you will appreciate the concern. Sufferers from autism and Asbrgers
Syndrome are also directly affected by the turbines, for another reason.
It has been well documented that people with Autism are irresistable drawn
to any objects that
And just in case you may think that this particular health issue does not concern you at the moment, how are you to know what debilitating health problems your children, or your children's children, may have in the future? Imagine not being able to welcome your grandchild because of a health issue instigated by the proximity of a windfarm.
to anyone involved. Experienced it for yourself, and don't, litterally,
just sit on the fence. Don't be naive and assume because they don't
directly affect you as you drive past, they are not of concern. Speak with
your doctor, and with the local shire's health department. Contact the
groups responsible for the mnagement of such disorders.
Land Aquisition and Use.
Windfarms are on private land. Indeed, the state Guidelines indicate that energy developments will not be permitted on any land reserved under the National Parks Act (1975). It is understood that there is an exclusion zone within one kilometer from 'the coast'. Private land is not restricted (except on the coast). Crown land is a possible target. Aboriginal heritate values are to be considered under the Archaeological and Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act (1972), and for crown land, the Native Title Act (1993) must be considered.
published Acts, and the state Guildelines.
Much has been made of the 'splitting of the community' when a windfarm is proposed. The argument (I am using the term in a more legal sense) can become childish, vindictive, violent, disruptive, ignorant - shall I go on? As mentioned previously, if dialogue is to be maintained, it has to be done with a minimum of emotion, and with appropriate knowledge, particularly insofar as the situation affects the debater. The frequently heard condemnation by those who own a windfarm, of those that do not, is frequently based on the premise that 'they are angry because they havn't got one'. The 'haves' and 'have-nots' syndrome. This is a disgraceful argument to put forth. Certainly there would be landowners who are disappointed at not having a windfarm on their property when a neighbour has one, but it is disgraceful and certainly un-Australian to suggest that such a neighbour does not have a right to express his or her concerns. In somewhat mercenary terms, perhaps the neighbour would indeed be happy to have a windfarm on his/her land but the fact is they havn't, and they now have to put up with a considerable inconvenience - and do not have the tens of thousands of dollars to appease their concerns, which the windfarm owner certainly has. We also have the ridulous situation where a proposed or actual windfarm owner will flaunt the situation that 'we have many supporters who wish us well for the windfarm'. True - friends and relatives will assuredly give verbal support but one has to question firstly whether these 'supporters' are directly affected by the windfarm, and secondly, if they really understand the issues and have come realistic compassion of what others may have to tolerate because of their 'support'. And this is the true NIMBY attitude. "Go for it, mate", they say - and 'thank God its Not In My Back Yard', they will think.
to the communities at Toora, Foster, Meeniyan, and now Yarram and Devon
North. There is ample documented and first-hand evidence of serious community
problems, as mentioned above. In one instance, a community social/family
gathering had to be held over two evenings just so as not to bring two
opposing factions into contact. And in one important service club, it is
the club rule that the mention of windfarms will not be tolerated lest
it causes a further spilt of opinion within the club.
Financial benefit to landowner.
Landowners where a windfarm is located are paid between $5,000 and $10,000 a turbine. It is generally thought that the first turbine will result in a $10,000 fee with subsequent turbines at $5,000 each. Each wind energy company has their own rates. AusWEA indicate the general payment is $5,000 per turbine, which allows for access at any time.
Sharing the Spoils.
It is understood that some
communities in Europe share the profits made from the windfarms, and neighbouring
landowners receive compensation for their disturbance. This has not been
implemented in Australia, and it is difficult to see how it could be done,
as payment to the neighbouring landowners and the community would need
to come from the wind energy contractors. In so doing they would probably
elect to reduce the annual lease payment to the windfarm land owners, which
would reduce the incentive for landowners to ofer their properties for
turbine use. Of course, a windfarm landowner could always offer the neighbours
and the community some percentage of the spoils but it would be a rasre
community minded landowner who did so. Of course, many windfarm landowners
suggest that "it is not the money" that they are after, but that they support
the concept of renewable energy and want to contribute to the reduction
on global warming. That is a fine tribute, and these conscientous landowners
may therefore like to consider sharing their spoils with th community considering
that money is not the option.
Wind energy debate usually centres on a life of a windfamr (ie turbine) of twenty years. Whether this is relevant to the engineering of the turbine, or the fact that another cheaper sustainable energy means will be used after this time is not indicated. Why twenty years? It could be that nuclear energy will be the norm within the next few decades. Or hopefully, the cost of solar energy will be greatly reduced. One of the greastest poblem with wind energy-generated electricity is the means of storing surplus electricity. (This is also a problem with any form of electricity irrespective of how it is generated). Technology is being developed to turn to use the surplus to turn hydrogen or ethanol into a storaeable fuel that can later be used to generate electricity but most systems are still decades from bcoming economically feasible. (Source: Natioaanl Geographic, August 2005).
It is appreciated that small or single wind-turbine towers can be of tremendous benefit particularly in isolated areas and communities where there is no economical alternative - such as islands (King, Flinders, Rottest), and for specific use such as power for an isolated factory or farm. The viable use of wind energy in an appropriate situation is not a problem - the question thats needs to be addressed is where they are to be placed.
When a German politician was asked, "why do you place so many wind turbines offshore ?", his succinct reply was "Seagulls don't vote". The point is, wind-energy is a political issue, and will remain so when governments do not consider their apporpriate location.
The question arises as to what direct benefit a windfarm has on the people of a community, ie withgin a shire. It is the shire council's responsibility to represent the interests of the people, not only the broader community but also th individual. Will the shire, ie the people, benefit from a windfarm, be it financially or in any other manner.
In Victoria, it would appear from experiences and attitudes expressed by shire council's who have confronted the issue of wind energy, that, in general, they are not in favour of windfarm installation. In this they no doubt represent the views of the people, and the financial viability for the respective shire. It would do well to study the history of the South Gippsland Shire who have been in the forefront of windfarm proposals for several years. Their experiences should be understood by (Wellington) shire employees and councillors in a position to make decisions within their own shire.
Local Council Laws and Attitude.
As mentioned previously, the Policy Planning Guidelines for development of Wind Energy in Victoria producd by the Brack's state Labor government, clearly states that 'The Minister for Planning is responsible for assessing all proposals that are 30 MW or greater', and further makes it clear that 'for projects less than 30 MW the local council is the responsible authority". This seems clear cut. The council must provide the go ahead if any windfarm proposal is below 30MW which equates to about 15 to 20 wind turbines depending on efficiency. However there is an unwritten caveat on this policy statement laid down by the (ex) Minister of Planning Delahunty and that is 'the local council has the authority to approve or reject a windfarm proposal less than 30 MW but if it disapproves of a proposal the Minister for Planning can come in and overrule the council's rejection'. It has been done (re Bald Hills, South Gippsland). How totally disgraceful and undemocratic is this. It leaves the local council, who by their physical presence are the representatives of the loal resident and landowners, no power on their behalf whatsoever. It is a disgraceful indictement on the competency of the local council to represent their residents and ratepayers. And this has happened, in relation to the Bald Hills proposal.
And ask yourself this question.
Since when can you construct a forty-eight metre tower on your property
WITHOUT A PERMIT ? If you want to put up a tin shed, not only does it have
to meet council requirements, and a permit issued, but it may also need
a nice coat of green paint to blend in with the countryside so as not to
inconvenience neighbours and to protect 'the visual sustainability of the
environment', to use a planner's words. Thats seems reasonable. So why
does the shire allow, or indeed does not even need to be consulted, for
a landowner to put up a huge tower to monitor wind energies? Why? - because
the state government forecast quite wisely (is that an oxymoron) that a
windfarm proposal could be stopped at council level simply by the local
council refusing a permit for a monitoring tower, which they surely would.
So the state government brought in legislation about two years ago to allow
any wind monitoring equipment or construction to be erected without a permit.
How convenient is that? So don't go blaming the Shire of Wellington for
the forty-eight meter tower erected on the proposed Devon North windfarm
property - it was out of their hands.
Gippsland Shire and the Bald Hills project.
Further note: The position
of the Wellington Shire Council as of 26 August 2005 was as follows:
(11 April 2006) The following original comment requires clarification:
In written communication from Madgwicks, Lawyers, representing Synergy Wind Pty Ltd, dated 10 April 2006, is is stated that this statement is false, and that Spitzner instructs that he never made the alleged statement, and that Synergy have never considered a wind farm in South Gippsland shire.
As it is a matter of my word over that of Spitzner, and such verbal communication cannot be verified, I offer a public apology to Spitzner for any misunderstanding I may have had in regard to this conversation.
Let us consider now the broader issue of individual responsibility within a community.
THE MORAL ISSUE
Forget about the legal issues for a moment. What are the moral issues.
Lets consider it from a community point of view - our parochial society in which we exist for the greater part of our everyday being. If one chooses to live in a community, we must abide not only to the common laws that allow community living, but also to the unwritten expectations of each individual.
Lets consider it firstly from the point of view of the landowner who has been tempted with financial gain to allow a windfarm to be constructed on their land. One would think that the landowner would consider the ramifications of the contract, not only to him or herself in real and financial terms, but also the implication of the wider community, and his or her relationship with that community in which they live. There is a balance here. A fistful of dollars can be a real incentive to think only of oneself and not even consider the effect on others. It happens every day in every community but that does not mean it is right, nor in itself does it mean it is wrong. So what are the legal and moral obligations of the windfarm landowner?
Lets knock over the legal considerations first. Rural land, as it is in South Gippsland, is 'zoned' for arable (crops) use or animal husbandry. Basically, anything other than that and you need a permit to operate. If you can convince the local shire that your prospective use of the land is acceptable, and the council issues a permit, then thats the end of the situation. There may be ongoing complaints to council or even civil litigation, but from a land-use point of view, if you have the shire permit, you can do as you please within the constrants of the permit.
In considering the permit, the shire of course must consider the wider picture - the ramifications on existing local. state and federal laws and stautes, the benefits (or otherwise) to the shire and thus the wider community, and right down to the individual affected in any special way. It is the shire's responsibility to act in accordance with what is best for the greater good, and of course the greater good should also consider simply what is best for a particularl individual or family who may be severly inconvenience by the landowner proposal. Having a waste dump built next to your home may be a serious disadvantage that the shire would consider. So if the shire considers that a windfarm is okay on a particular property you would think that they have had enough intelligence and dilligence to investigate the situation and come up with a reasonable solution. In the case of the windfarms however, it appears that the shire has not this control, despite it being stated that they do, with reservations. In the state government policy on wind energy facilities it is clearly stated that the local authority, ie the shire, has responsibility for wind farm projects up to 30 megawatts. As mentioned previously, this equates to about fifteen to twenty turbines - as the equipment becomes bigger and more efficient, the number of turbines will lessen. In the case of the Devon North proposal, which has been stated as five to ten turbines, it would appear that the project is within the bounds of the shire's responsibility. So basically, if the shire does not see the benefit for the shire as a whole and takes into account the strong concerns of others, it can simply knock the whole insidious idea on the head. But it is not that easy. As previously mentioned, the state and federal governments have too much to loose, and they will not allow a mere local shire to dictate the rules. So, as Mary Delahunty did in the case of Bald Hills, which the South Gippsland Shire did not want, she changed the rules, and told the shire exactly what to do. The shire had no choice but to back down, and thus not represent their greater community. This is a disgraceful situation in its own. The bottom line is, the shire can 'yes', but will have difficulty getting a 'no' action. So much for one aspect of social morality. And so much for democracy.
But back to the landholders of a potential windfarm. They are influenced by money. Some may be influenced by the greater environmental challenge for clean renewable energy, but no, lets face it, its money, pure and simple. Do they have that right? Of course they do. They have the right to consider any means of revenue that their property may provide. They have the right to make approaches to any commercial or government body to seek the necessary endorsement or permit for their activty - no matter what it may be. But the key word here is 'consider'. They can consider their new proposal, they can consider the legal requirements - but do they need to consider the moral obligations to others within the same community? Now that is, unfortunately, a debateable point. In a world which constantly flaunts the fact that greed is good, we have come to accept that it is in reality every person for themselves. And that means that if a person considers a proposed action that provides for their own benefit, and the person chooses not to consider any moral obligations, then so be it. Paradoxically, they have that right. If you want to try to screw up your neighbours, legally that is, you have that right. Of course, some may choose to take the moral ground. Those that do are called naive by some, and good citizens by others. It is a difficult situation, and one that only each individual can consider. In other words, how would you react if you were offered $30,000 a year but at the expense of the quality of life of your neighbours. Thats only a decision you could make. And you cannot make it on behalf on anyone else. You wouldn't turn you land into a windfarm for $30,000 ? Try, then $100,000 per annum. Now that has you thinking. Let's face it, we are all financial prostitutes at heart. So lets be both considerate and circumspect when it comes to judging others.
I hope at this stage we have established a notion of the rights of the landholder - that if the landholder so wishes to propose the construction of a windfarm, the landholder has every legal right and moral right to consider such a proposal. For the landholder to actually go ahead and install the windfarm, this may not contravense the legal issue, but it certainly raises questions on the moral issue if others are affected.
Lets now consider the rights of the neighbours so affected by a windfarm proposal, both legal and moral.
The neighbours have the same rights as the windfarm landowner, of course. There may be some legal differences in the use of the respective land, but lets assume that the neighbours are residents, ie they live (or may even just holiday) in a house on their own or rented property. What can they expect? It has already been mentioned that 'rural residential' does not determine the actual use of a property. If the dairy farmer next door wants to construct a rotary dairy on his land there is virtually nothing you can do about it outside of the statutes governing such construction. We live in a rural area and that means crops, forests, cows and more cows. It means tractors, cattle trucks, milk trucks, silage smells and fertilizer, youngsters on bush bikes and vermin and recreational shooters. These are all part of country life whether we like it or not. The city physician who complained that the cows crapped on 'his' road outside his rural holiday home a few years ago was totally out of line. Cows move, have a right of way in some instances, and boy, do they crap.
But let me put this to you. It is accepted that we have a right to safe and quiet living. We have a right to bring up our kids in a safe and pleasant environment. We have many personal rights, many of which are not documented because they are so obvious to the individual. Perhaps they should be documented. Perhaps I should have a legal right to a smile from a shop attendant, not just a moral right. Perhaps it should be illegal for a woman to walk into a computer store and not be treated as a moron. Lets hope we dont get too bogged down in such specific social laws, for if we do, we will have lost the plot as a free society, a steady and safe and liveable community. (Try living in Singapore for a while to experience a safe, but is it free, society).
But I would like to add just one other 'Right'. Its not about a legal or moral right, it is simply a community living right. We can't document every single action that affects our lives - I've just said that this would lead to a breakdown in a free society. Lets call it
The Right to Reasonable Expectancy.
This simply means that you have the right to expect certain events, actions, 'things', to happen in everyday life. I don't mean that the phone works all the time, and that no one rushes into your home with a meat cleaver. I mean the everyday actions of living in a community be it a huge metropolis like Melbourne or the intimacy of downtown Yarram. Lets be more specific. I expect to be treated with courtesy, and I expect that everyone else would accept my treatment of them in a courteous manner. (I once held the door open for a young executive-dressed young lady in Melbourne and was given the most ferrocious glare). I expect not to be held to ridicule (there is a law against that) but I am really reffering to general acceptance due to age, gender, race, personal appearance, personal preference or whatever. (When I say 'I', I mean what I expect for everyone).
But lets be specific here, in regards to a windfarm, and see how it relates to neighbouring residences in a rural-residential enviroment. When a person builds or acquires a residential property, they do so for the purposes relevant to their desired lifestyle. This is dictated by many factors - interests, family, economics, employment - you name it, you've been through it. One choice we have in country regions is to have a few acres perhaps, to have a setting that delimites neighbour noise and disruption, and to have a view or pleasant outlook. These factors are seriously considered and in so making the final decision, consideration is also given to any potential change that may occur that would reduce or eliminate your preferences. You don't buy a block of land at the end of air airstrip and then complain about the noise when you move in (as happened at Airport West after Tullamarine airport was constructed). It is the new resident's responsibility to check out the laws of the land so to speak, to determine exisiting caveats, proposals, and legal uses of the neighbouring land as well as the property under consideration. If in a rural-residential area (or indeed straight rural with a farm residence), it must be understood that the use of neighbouring properties may change, and it is generally understood that such change would be within the laws of local council in regard to land use - generally for arable use and animal husbandry as mentioned - but 'anything' if a permit is issued. So if the neighbour at some time in the future wants to erect a rotary dairy on their property, you havn't much of a leg to stand on. If you compain about the milk trucks passing your door, even if that didn't happen when you first moved in, (or log trucks which is perhaps more relevant), you havn't much of a case. But what happens if the neighbour wants to operate a chicken battery, or a pig farm. That comes under animal husbundary and you still may not have a case, but even here there are council laws that can determine the viability of such new project. The point is, the rural resident must have some understanding and appreciation that 'things' can change, and that is all there is to it. But what 'things'. What is it reasonable to expect. No government can lay down in finite detail just what can and can't be done - fortunately we live in a changing world and some change is to be expected. Perhaps at this stage I have shot down the argument - if change is to be expected, and a windfarm is now technology resulting in a change to energy development, then accept the inevitable and don't whinge!!. But this attitude would be totally unreasonable. And here we ask the question, what is reasonable - or more appropriate in the case of a windfarm, what is not reasonable. Is it appropriate that the neighbour opens a panel beating business, or a chemical production company, or a jet engine testing base if we must take it to an extreme. What conditions are reasonable? If we must quantify this, a commercial industrial operation is not something that we can reasonably expect to occur. And a windfarm is a commercial industrial business.
Lets be specific. When the Jones family finds land that they like, and they build a family home with a view that they are proud of, to raise a family or perhaps in retirement, they expect that view to remain, subject of course to the accepted use of the surrounding rural land as just mentioned. Is it therefore reasonable for the resident to complain if the neighbour decides to change from grazing to crop the land for silage, and is thus inconvenienced by tractors, fertizer and silage smell. No - these are expected activities. You will appreciate now where this is leading to, so lets ask the simple question. Is it reasonable for a resident to expect that an industrial and commerial industry would not be constructed on a neighbours property. Yes, of course it is. The land is legally zoned rural, but even more important, it is generally understood that the rural land will be used for rural purposes, and individual life-style decisions are made on this basis. Zoning is determined by the appropriateness of the use of the land, and the publication of zoning laws are to let the community know what and how the land can be used, so that personal and commercial decisions can be made. Such laws are required to ensure an appropriate standard of living for all concerned - so that the family can decide where to live, for example. But as mentioned, the law cannot cover every single possible instance of possible misuse of the land, and hence it gets back to the individual making decisions on what is reasonable.
Hence the concept that we as individual citizens, and the community as a whole, have the Right of Reasonable Expectancy.
The government and local council, who represent us in all matters of community living, must support this doctrine, otherwise, in effect, there are no stable laws, and we end up with a bureaucratic dictatorship. The Jones should not have to put up with an instrusive industry that changes their lifestyle. The right of the individual must be respected in any democracy. We say that Australia is a country where everyone gets a fair go. That concept must be adhered to. But if there is a conflict of interest between parties, it is unfortunately the employed lawyers who come into the debate, where manipulation, of words and actions, of 'strength of argument', and legal 'technicality' can sway a decision favourable only to the strongest (usually financilly so), party. This happened at the Dollar Windfarm enquiry. When a resident questioned his right to maintain his families lifestyle in the face of the proposed windfarm, he was literally dismissed by corporate lawyers on the basis that - "the land is zoned rural-residnetial, but the land can be used for any purpose if a permit is obtained, and as we have a permit, and so there is no case to answer". What a load of verbal garbage. The Right of Reasonable Expendency was totally dismised by corporate lawyers - as they perhaps should do if they are doing their job - but it was upheld by the panel hearing chairman - which is a disgrace. This does not bide well with anyone expecting to be heard on any issue, and lessens the feeling of security and family safety, which goes totally against the concept of community living, and indeed the vision of democracy in Australia. Everyone in Australia should have the right to quiet and safe existence, to the right to live on their land in the manner they choose, within the law and reasonab;e moral expectations. If this right is negated, then we must hold local, state and federal governments responsible, and take appropriate action.
The bottom line is, if you have a residence with a view, for example, it must be your legal right to maintain this view if you have understood the legal status, and have an appreciation of what is your right to reasonably expect. A commercial industrial windfarm operation with hundred meter wind turbines is NOT a reasonable expectancy.
|HOW TO DEBATE THE PROPOSAL
Avenues of protest:
Legal action against the
Legal action against the
wind energy company.
AND COMMUNITY CONCERNS.
Those direct and near neighbours concerned about the Devon North windfarm proposal are invited to express their concerns. Others may also do so, be that for or against the project.
|DIARY of EVENTS and ACTION
May 2005: Proposed windfarm landowner advises Ingles Rod resident and others on Bolgers Road that the proposal is in effect and a wind monitoring tower is to be erected. Permission is sough for the wind energy company to enter neighbour's land towhich was granted, to measure 'ambient' noise.
May 2005: Several days later, a wind monitoring tower was erected on the proposed windfarm land, clearly visible from Ingles and Bolgers Road, Devon North.
May 2005. Two 'letters to the editor' in Yarram Standard News condemns the Devon North windfarm proposal and leads to an article in the newspaper which becomes in effect the announcement to the community of the project..
27 July 2005. Fact finding meeting of concerned residents with Craig Falconer and Mrs Falconer at Dumbaulk. Invitation sent to proposed windfarm landowner to meet with concerned neighbours.
10 August 2005. Local neighbour meeting.
2 September 2005. Meeting with Peter Ryan, Member for Gippsland, Leader of the Nationals.
7 September 2005. Yarram Standard news publishes interview with neighbour Peter Stone.
8 September 2005 First letters of introduction arrive from Synergy Wind P/L. Letters also requesting that their ascoustic consultants be permitted access to individual properties to install ambient noise testing equipment.
Curious isn't it, that four months after installation of the wind testing tower we get a letter of introduction from the windfarm company telling us of their 'proposal'. Hardly a proposal, more a letter of intention - surely, the introduction and 'proposal' should have come before the tower installation.?
12 October 2005. First formal meeting of 'concerned residents' to formulate strategy.
Correspondence to be sent to Synergy Wind Pty Ltd and G. & L. Helleren.
18 October 2005. Meeting with Wellington Shire Councillors.
19 October 2005. Presentation to Rotary Club of Yarram.
11 November 2005. Meeting of Concerned Residents.
16 December 2005. Synergy Wind arrange for a "public meeting" in Yarram to present details of their proposal. It was not a meeting but an open day whereby residents could discuss issues with Public Relations consultant Bill Barber, who handed out AusWEA brochures and a statement from Synergy.
On or about 9 January 2006. The wind monitoring tower on the Helleren property at Devon North came crashing down due to judicious use of a pair of bolt cutters - according to the Yarram Standard News 11/2/06.
22 January 2006. Meeting held at Devon North church hall to discuss issues and educate neighbouring residents to the windfarm issue.
15 February 2006. A new wind monitoring tower was erected on the Devon North property.
10 April 2006. Member for Gippsland, and Leader of the Nationals, Peter Ryan, visits proposed windfarm site and discusses issues with neighbours.
10 April 2006. Madgwicks, Lawyers, of Bourke Street, Melbourne, forward letter to Peter Stone, headed
"Synergy Wind Pty Ltd - Defamation by Mr Peter Stone." Stone responds accordingly. No further action.
2 June 2006. Hon. Peter McGauran MP, visits Devon North beighbouring residences, discussed issues with community, condemns windfarms.
4 July 2006. Council releases Application Permit documentation. Synergy Wind inform some neighbours of the application.
3 August 2006. Deadline for objections to Planning Permit.
|COMMUNICATION TO CONCERNED
RESIDENTS OF DEVON NORTH RE DEVON NORTH WINDFARM PROPOSAL - Email.
SITE CONTENT - INTERNAL