Palmer wind farm proposal heads for court

Appeals blow in

Neighbours opposed to the proposed Palmer Wind Farm are not backing down from their fight to stop the development going ahead.

Four appeals have been made to the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court following the Mid Murray Council Development Assessment Panel’s (DAP) decision to approve the $700 million development in December.

Appellants include Australian Football League chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan, who has a family property near Mount Pleasant, and a group of about 100 people known as the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians.

The group’s chair Tony Walker, who lives at Eden Valley, said they had a strong case to present in the ERD Court considering they weren’t given enough time during the DAP hearing.

“The people who put in submissions opposing the proposal were not given a fair share of time in order to put their position clearly before the panel,” he said.

“Ninety-six people who are represented by Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians got 18 seconds each, we expected to get one or two minutes.

“There’s a lot of material ... that would have been valid to put before the panel, but given the allocated time we weren’t able to.”

Low frequency noise, visibility and reduced aerial protection in the event of a bushfire were among the group’s major concerns.

On Monday, Mr McLachlan met with Trustpower and the Mid Murray Council for a preliminary conference to decide the court proceedings, while the other three appellants are scheduled to meet on February 15.

But council’s development services manager Joel Taggart said that could change after Monday’s meeting was adjourned until April.

“What we are trying to do is get them all heard on the same day (in April),” he said.

“That way Trustpower can fight the one appeal.

“The ultimate issue is that they don’t want the wind farm there.”

The proposed 114-turbine wind farm - to be situated between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston - is expected to produce up to 375 megawatt of renewable energy each year, which developer Trustpower said was enough to power more than 250,000 homes.

It is also expected to bring about 300 jobs during the construction period and 15 other throughout its on going operations.