Group of property owners in the Palmer region who are concerned about the Palmer Wind Farm. A group of property owners have joined together with plenty in common – a strong belief in renewable energy, all living on properties less than 40km from the outskirts of the Barossa Valley and adjacent to New Zealand power company Trustpower’s proposed industrial wind turbine facility around Palmer.
The residents are not ‘anti’ wind, and firmly believe in alternative sources of renewable energy but are concerned about the various impacts of the wind turbines and would prefer they were placed in non-populated areas.
Spokesperson for the group Mark said, “Generally speaking, no one is overly interested in the placement of wind turbines until it’s in their own back yard and it’s now in our backyard.
“We all live on lifestyle properties in this region, not farms, and the value of our properties to us is based on the quietness and the views which are unspoilt by any visible man-made structure and free from the sounds and sight of turbines from our homes – it will really be a total disruption to our chosen lifestyle.
Trustpower have undertaken to pay to non-participating property holders within one kilometer of a wind turbine and residences that are located within two kilometers of a wind turbine.
This ‘neighbouring benefit’ involves annual payments based on a sliding scale with a minimum of $2500 per annum, depending on the number of turbines constructed within one kilometre of a property boundary or two kilometers of a residence should the project go ahead.
The group believe 40 of the 60 eligible residents on properties adjacent to those hosting Palmer wind turbines have been provided with Trustpower contracts to sign for approval but this concerned group will not be signing.
“We all received the contract, our lawyers found it laughable and we found it restrictive and legally binding in that if we have problems in the future with health and property value loss we will not be allowed to speak out due to the caveat Trustpower will have on our property.
“It allows Trustpower to have a lot of say in the future development of our properties, including basic aspects such as the height of our trees we plant, sheds and other buildings and much more,” Mark said.
Graeme Purchase, spokesperson from Trustpower said, “The ‘neighbouring benefit’ is a voluntary agreement and there is nothing in the agreement to say they cannot speak up in the future.”
In other wind farms owned by Trustpower they have considered individual screening on properties to re-enhance the view on some properties.
Other concerns of the group include specific environmental impacts such as deaths of predator birds, disruption during wind turbine construction due to increased traffic, rock blasting and increased dust.
For many the loss of visual amenity and impacts of sound will decrease the enjoyment to live on these properties.
The group agree ‘entrapment’ is a good word to explain the way they feel about the land value side of things.
They question is who will buy their properties when they will be almost surrounded by 165 metre tall wind turbines if this plan goes ahead?
“We can’t sell and can’t afford to walk out, our properties are our nest eggs.”
Trustpower have a five-year period before construction can begin and encourage concerned residents to make contact with them that are keen to discuss the project further.
“We encourage any adjacent landholders to engage with Trustpower – we are always open to talk,” Graeme said.
The project is currently lodged with the Mid Murray Council who requested additional information on May 30 on a range of matters from Trustpower who have recently responded.
Council will now examine the additional information provided to ensure it adequately addresses the queries raised.
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