OSMI’s proposal to build an industrial sized wind farm in the pine plantation above the town has been quietly moving forward, with boxes ticked and legislative requirements met.
Peter Marriot, OSMI’s director has told me that he intends to apply for a Planning Permit this year, within the next month or two.
Once that permit goes in and the Planning Minister calls for comments the local community has only one month to make their opinions known.
For me, I have seen this proposal divide a town, though not evenly.
The vast majority of people do not want this wind farm. We didn’t ask for it to be built here and when a poll was conducted late last year 76% of people in Boolarra who voted overwhelming made it clear we did not want this wind farm in our beautiful town.
I have seen a group of concerned residents come together to form the SCA – a strong passionate grassroots organisation of around 1000 residents. People who came together organically with one aim, to stop the wind farm from being forced upon us.
I have seen the opposing group form, the SSF who support OSMI and their proposal. I am not sure how many members they have now but the last count was around 12.
I have seen neighbours and friends who may be living a little over 1km from multiple 250mt wind turbines worry and fear for their future health and well-being.
I have seen neighbours and friends who came through the awful 2009 fires struggle with the fear of what added fire risk putting these machines within the pine plantation will bring.
I have not seen OSMI care about the opinions and feelings of people in this and the other towns who will be living with these 250mt turbines for decades to come.
I have not seen OSMI ask us, local people who will be living with the turbines, if we consent to them.
There is such a thing as a social license to operate, where there is ongoing approval for the project within the local community. OSMI can in no way claim to have that.
Although OSMI may have fulfilled their legal obligations to State and Federal departments they have not met their moral obligations to the people in this town, and the others that will surround the wind farm.
Given that it is OSMI’s intention to apply for a permit very soon, and that we will only have one month to make our feelings known, now is the time for us all to be thinking about what this proposed wind farm will mean for us.
Now is the time to start thinking and writing down how this proposal has impacted you already and what impacts being asked to live with these 33 250mt turbines will have for you now and over the next 25-30 years.