If you’ve been following the development of wind energy in Australia then chances are you’ve heard of Waubra. The small country town in western Victoria is home to one of the largest wind farms in the southern hemisphere and emerged as a key battleground for the anti-wind farm lobby in Victoria. (The anti-wind farm group the Waubra Foundation went so far as to coopt the town’s name for their own narrow interests.)
The following story published by The Courier details how locals are trying to escape the nastiness of anti-wind farm campaigning. Waubra residents will hold a community festival on Saturday October 6 to reemphasise their town’s reputation for strong community and quality produce.
Evan Schurrman reports for the Ballarat Courier:
The quaint town of Waubra is working to break the massive shackles that come with being a hub for wind farm debate, and instead wants to be known foremost as a community with great people and produce.
The message is being sent ahead of next months Waubra Community Festival, which was previously called the Waubra Wind Farm Festival.
Festival committee member Karen Molloy said the change in name reflected a growing desire for Waubra to step out from the shadows cast by the wind farm issue.
“We want to showcase Waubra because it’s so much more than wind,” she said.
“We love the wind towers and we’re just hoping we can create some positive news for Waubra.”
Ms Molloy said negative media coverage had begun to weigh on the community, who she said was mostly in favour of the wind farms.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the community are living quite happy with the wind turbines, but it’s probably the one per cent that aren’t happy that are being heard and being quite vocal,” she said.
The festival promises a range of activities for children, as well as the “Waubra Gift” running race, a horticultural display and guided tours out to the wind turbines.
Ms Molloy said the entire community had benefited from the installation of wind turbines, with energy producer Acciona contributing to a Waubra Wind Farm Community Fund.
“Most of the money has gone onto our Community Hub facility, and we’ve probably got the best facilities in the Central Highlands Football League,” she said.
The Courier was unable to make contact with head of the fund, counsellor David Clark yesterday.
The festival will be held on Saturday October 6 between 10am and 4pm. A bus will be available for travel between Ballarat and Waubra on the day.