Letter to the Editor – Dec. 2019

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you about my concerns in regards to the proposed Delburn Wind Farm. I have numerous concerns regarding this proposal, including the bushfire risks, impacts on the environment, noise, health and well-being risks and devaluation of my property.

I was unfortunate enough to have been through the Canberra bushfires. It was a very traumatic event for my family, three of my children to this day are still terrified by bushfire. On moving to the Latrobe Valley, we then witnessed several major bushfires. We are very well aware of the risks in the area, and having spoken to bushfire experts, understand that the Strzelecki Ranges are one of the highest bushfire risk areas in Australia.

I am in utter disbelief that anyone would even consider the Delburn HVP pine plantation as a site for any industrial business. We are all too familiar with the visions of wind turbines malfunctioning and catching fire worldwide. Pine plantations are an immense risk to the community when they ignite with catastrophic results. The proposal to install the tallest land-based wind turbines in the world at 250m high, amongst 2,000+ residents within a 5km radius of this site, is unacceptably risky to the lives and property of these residents. The Wind Commissioner’s Report states that siting for wind turbines should be “on cleared primary production land” and 2km from residents for turbines over 200 metres high. The chosen site is in complete contrast to this.

I am concerned about the impact of noise and infrasound on my family’s health and well-being. I have been in communication with residents that live within close proximity to wind farms, and every one of them has relayed the impact that it makes on their daily life. I have visited several wind farms, including Ararat, Bald Hills and Toora, even spending a few nights within a 5 km radius. I was very much aware of the sound, and it roused me from my sleep several times.

We chose to move to our 5 acre lifestyle property, to embrace a less hectic and quieter life. My son has autism, and the serene nature of the area was ideal for his development and calmed his anxiety. He has flourished in this environment, achieving far beyond original prognosis both at home and at school. We all embrace the wildlife, and enjoy the majestic flight of wedge-tailed eagles as they soar above us.

From OSMI’s current modelling, we believe all 35 of the wind turbines will be viewed from our property. Our closest turbine will be just over 3km from our home, and in an elevated position, rendering them more than 300m above our home. From this modelling, we expect to suffer from significant sound and vibration, and no doubt light flicker at certain times. We fear that, if the proposal is allowed to go ahead, our paradise will be lost. We fear that if we find it intolerable, and in particular our son, and feel we can no longer live here, we will suffer significant financial loss, if we can even find a buyer. Let’s be realistic …who seriously would choose to live under those circumstances?

Throughout the process of “community consultation”, I feel that the developer, OSMI, have been very selective in the information presented to us. At OSMI’s Community Information day, I questioned Peter Marriott about infrasound and related health concerns for residents. He stated, “Only people who are anti wind-farms suffer health issues!” I found this to be unacceptable and dismissive of my genuine concerns.

I feel that OSMI treat our community in such a way as to make us believe that we have no choice but to accept this proposal. That it is “good for us”. That it is “right” for the country, “right” for the environment, and our “duty” to provide power for Melbourne. With talk of some unsubstantiated job creation, financial “benefits” to sporting clubs etc., and playing neighbour against neighbour are all very tactical ways of dividing the community.

I am not opposing wind turbines, just the unacceptably inappropriate siting of this proposal.

Gabrielle Armstrong.