Wind farm project cut back

Wind farm project cut back
Adam Morton
October 30, 2010

VICTORIA’S largest wind farm proposal has been scaled back after the state government accepted evidence it would damage the view from a heritage-listed property.

Planning Minister Justin Madden approved a bid by energy company Origin to build a $1 billion wind farm at Stockyard Hill, between Beaufort and Skipton, about 35 kilometres west of Ballarat.

But the 157-turbine farm will be more than a third smaller than the 242-turbine one initially proposed. Origin struck out 30 turbines during public hearings and the government refused another 55 based on the advice of a planning panel.

Fourteen turbines were refused on the grounds they would have diminished the view from Mawallok, a historic homestead with gardens crafted by 19th-century landscaper William Guilfoyle.

It is the first time wind turbines have been rejected because of their impact on the outlook from a heritage property.

Another 41 turbines were rejected due to their impact on a local brolga population.
Cassie Franzose, a member of the Mitchell family that owns Mawallok and spokeswoman for anti-wind farm group the Landscape Guardians, was unhappy any turbines had been approved but ”pleasantly surprised” the government had accepted the panel’s recommendations.

”Given there are so few gardens of that era it would have been a significant loss. The turbines would have been at the front of the vista,” she said.
She said Mawallok’s owners had won about three-quarters of what they were fighting for.

Despite this, she has left the property due to concern about the health effects of living near turbines. The government says there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that wind farms cause health problems.

The wind farm still needs federal government approval.

Published in The Age

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