Thursday, 20 September 2012

Wind farm under threat

Protesters crash wind farm information session at Walkamin

Tony Stickley
Thursday, September 20, 2012
© The Cairns Post

MORE than 50 protesters crashed an information day for the proposed Mt Emerald wind farm at Walkamin yesterday.

Initially the demonstrators – mostly farmers and residents – staged a vocal protest outside the Mareeba Heritage Museum and Information Centre.

But when they moved inside where executives from wind turbine operator and land owners, Ratch Australia and Port Bajool, were conducting an information day, protesters agreed to leave their banners outside. When they turned on their megaphone and started demanding answers to a series of questions, a Ratch representative protested that they did not have the right to “hijack” the information day, which brought jeers from a boisterous crowd.

One speaker after another asked through the loud-hailer why the meeting was being held at Mareeba, when those affected lived at Tolga and Walkamin. They wanted to know about noise from the turbines, how safe it would be for pilots,  the effect on aerial crop ­spraying, concerns about the visual impact and wildlife in the area, and how close the nearest dwelling would be to the turbines.

Geoff Dutton, Ratch Australia’s executive general manager operations and business, said members of his team of experts would answer questions on an individual basis and respond within two weeks. Mr Dutton said that they had reduced the number of turbines initially proposed in certain locations after community consultation, which reduced their output by 8 percent, leading to a reduction in revenue.

He later told the media: ­“People are coming here asking sensible questions. “We want to answer all of those questions in a sensible way, but it is not appropriate to have a debate across a crowd.” Farmer Rob Watkins, the general manager of Mt Uncle Farming, said the proposal would deface a “beautiful creation of nature” but Mr Dutton said there would be “minimal impact on views”.


Not happy: Local protesters show a united front against plans to build a wind turbine farm at Mt Emerald. Picture: STEWART McLEAN.
                                             __________   |   ____________

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.