THE Surf Coast Shire has set out its position on the proposed Inverleigh Wind Farm, and has urged a higher and better level of consultation with the community.
The state government is the responsible planning authority for large scale wind farms, and the shire fomalised its submission to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) at a special council meeting on Tuesday night.
To be built 7km south east of Inverleigh and 10km north-east of Winchelsea, the project was formerly known as the Winchelsea Wind Farm and has been redesigned for up to 16 wind turbine generators with an indicative capacity of 4.8MW. These will eventually be co-located alongside solar generation and battery storage.
In its submission, the Surf Coast Shire agrees that “large scale renewable energy projects are critical to Victoria achieving its 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target”.
However, to “ensure a successful outcome for all parties”, the shire has asked the Planning Minister to “consider the specifics of the site and the adequacy of the engagement with the community”.
The shire argues putting the turbines in alternate locations could reduce amenity impacts to nearby residents, especially those located on lifestyle properties to the east.
According to a map submitted with the application, there are three properties in the 1-2km buffer, and another eight properties within the 2-3km buffer.
“There is a view that neighbouring properties incur the impacts of the facility (but) do not share in any of the benefits,” the shire states.
“There is an opportunity to consider further, engagement, negotiation, mediation and benefit sharing with nearby landowners, including landowners impacted by buffers.”
The submission notes the “community and stakeholder engagement process” by the Inverleigh Windfarm’s proponents “has not met community expectation and has not been successful in achieving a consensus with neighbouring property owners”.
“Council requests the proponent and DELWP undertake further consultation, engagement, and if required, mediation to find a way for this project to succeed and address the concerns of landowners surrounding the proposal.”
Surf Coast mayor David Bell said the council encouraged all interested people to make their own submission to the Minister for Planning.
Information about the Inverleigh Wind Farm is available at www.inverleighwindfarm.net.
Submissions are due by Monday, August 20 and must quote application number PA1800340. They can be sent by post to Minister for Planning, PO Box 500, East Melbourne VIC 8002, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.