BEAM President Richard Telford says the Mitchell Shire region in central Victoria can now look forward to the benefits that this project will bring. “Along with producing enough clean energy to power around 26,000 homes,” says Telford, “there will be a significant stimulus to the local economy in the form of investment and jobs.”
Yes 2 Renewables estimates show the project will deliver substantial economic benefits to the region. Standing out among these for BEAM is the community fund of up to $80,000 each year. “The community fund is particularly significant” says BEAM member Sarah Durrant, “as the locals could be in a position to choose just how the funds might best be used.”
A campaign by opponents of the wind farm, including the Waubra Foundation and the Landscape Guardians, could have threatened the project and denied Seymour the benefits that it will bring. Some opponents argued about the possibility of health impacts, others about visual impact, but the VCAT decision has confirmed that the wind farm is to be sited appropriately and that existing evidence shows no direct health implications.
While Mitchell Shire councillors initially rejected the idea of a wind farm at the chosen site, BEAM hopes that they’ll now recognise the value of the Cherry Tree Range project, not just in the terms of generating green power and reducing emissions, but as a much needed and very significant investment into the local economy. The Shire will also benefit from a rates windfall from the project to the tune of $76,000 annually.
BEAM recognises that there may be some in the community who will be disappointed by the VCAT planning decision. “We hope that all parties might agree that we should now heal some divisions and work towards achieving the best outcome possible,” says Richard Telford.
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