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Elizabeth Litchfield's Objection Concerning Wind Farms in the Monaro Area



Myack St. Berridale

Cooma 2630


29th May, 2006


Dear Councillors,


There has been much talk recently in the media regarding the energy debate. The Federal govt. has a Discussion paper regarding wind policy out for comment at present and the Cooma Monaro Shire Council has it's strategic plan drafted for comment in which they ask for submissions including the wind farm debate.


I have sent submissions to both the CMSC and federal govt. discussion paper and am sending one to the SRSC as well. In 2005 SRSC devised it's own wind policy discussion paper which was a positive move. I do not know what the outcome of that has been. I think it was unfortunate and hasty that approval was given to the Snowy Plain wind development prior to the wind policy being finalised. I question the council's foresight in granting approval of this project given the advice from the planning committee and the pristine area of Snowy Plain that will be destroyed if the turbines go ahead.


The planning committee did much research before recommending that council not approve the DA at Snowy Plain. The council's own LEP reads as though it was designed to prevent wind power stations in our area, and I think that to change the LEP to allow wind developments anywhere in the Shire is without real thought as to the consequences. Does this now mean we can build a 30 storey building anywhere we wish? Has the wind farm policy been shelved?


Even if Council wishes to promote wind power stations in Snowy River Shire, surely there are certain areas of iconic, cultural, and heritage value where they should NOT be allowed? Places such as the Brothers, visible from every direction for several kilometres, are iconic symbols of the Monaro and should be preserved in their magnificent and spectacular natural state. I believe Snowy Plain is another of these areas of heritage value - where else on the Monaro apart from in the National Park is there such a pristine and untouched area of beauty?


Submission to CMSC:

I would like to comment on the strategic plan currently on view with regard to the question of wind farms on the Monaro.


The Monaro region is unique in Australia and the world and has barely changed since before white settlement. There has been no land clearing on the Monaro plain, and it is unique in that it's vistas are largely free of the mark of humans The Monaro is the gateway to the Snowy mountains and derives much of it's economy from tourism. Both Australians and overseas tourists visit this area because of it's wild and rugged beauty and to enjoy the wide open spaces. They come to fish, ride, bushwalk and to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Artists, photographers and film makers are attracted to the Monaro to paint, photograph and make movies in this unique and spectacular region. Amongst these are the famous photographer David Moore, film director Jane Campion, and well known contemporary artist Imants Tillers. Increasingly people are choosing to move to this area from the city to escape crowded suburban life. They do not come here to be surrounded by an industrial landscape of wind turbines. Areas like the Monaro are becoming more rare and therefore of increasing value in a world that is rapidly becoming more developed.


A recent advertisement from a travel magazine for New Zealand's south island states that

"the South Island's Southern Alps region is a landscape that has barely altered since time began. It is a pertinent ad that I think also applies to Monaro. They know their selling point - that the landscape is virtually unchanged, will attract visitors to the region - that is one of our strongest selling points too and we should promote that and not destroy it."


The Cooma Shire Council and Snowy River Shire Council have done a wonderful job over the past to maintain the natural and unique beauty of this area. I am aware that in the past companies have wanted to put advertising boards along both the Monaro Highway and Snowy Mountains Highway. With great foresight this has been prevented which has allowed the vistas along these highways to remain in their natural state, virtually the same since before the arrival of the white man. This area has been carefully preserved through the councils local environment plans and it's value is only enhanced because of this. The erection of wind farms will be the single biggest change to the landscape in over 200 years and will turn it into an industrial landscape. We should think very carefully before ruining what we are privileged to own.

It is interesting to note that in the Federal Government's Wind energy discussion paper currently on view, Towards a National Code for Wind Farms it states that "The spectacular beauty of parts of Australia's coastline needs to be preserved unspoiled for future generations to enjoy". This of course is true. But what about other areas of spectacular beauty that are not on the coastline? I believe that Monaro is one of these areas and that CMSC and SRSC should submit a paper to the government supporting this.


The Victorian government minister Mary Delahunty, has recognised that areas that have not been cleared are of great value and should be preserved as such and not utilised for wind farms.


The discussion paper also states that "wind power" is an excellent source of renewable energy. And will remain a valued component of Australia's energy mix," and then to read that the projected amount of wind energy generation is 1.2% in 2015 and 1% in 2025 - absolutely miniscule!


There is much evidence that wind power is inefficient and can only ever be a small adjunct to base power. With technology developing at such a rate the Council should err on the side of caution before proceeding with wind farm developments. It should also fight for the right to make the decision for a wind farm to go ahead and not for the State government to make that decision. We live in this area and we should be able to decide what developments occur here.


It is very difficult to find out information regarding wind projects that are planned for the Monaro. Neighbouring property owners have not been advised or consulted regarding the wind monitoring towers that have been erected by their neighbours. By the time the monitoring tower is installed the landowner is already signed up to go ahead and has agreed not to discuss wind power.


A handful of landholders will experience great benefits but many including the wider community will suffer as a result - on grounds of social equity and justice this is totally unacceptable.


The people who will be affected, both neighbouring properties and the wider community should have been consulted and given the opportunity to object PRIOR to the monitoring towers being erected. This process of secrecy has caused anger and resentment and is putting neighbour against neighbour often where there is a history of generations of friendship. This should never have been allowed to occur and must be rectified.


In some cases, the owner of the property that has a monitoring tower does not reside on that land and so if a wind farm is approved, the property owner will not be affected by it, but the surrounding neighbours and the wider community will be subjected to it. Bad feeling has already developed when the owner stands to reap huge rewards and the neighbour will suffer a fall in land values and adverse impacts on their living and working conditions. In some cases land-owners have been approached by a wind company and have declined to host monitoring towers, but may have wind turbines erected by a neighbouring land owner and "get them anyway". This is grossly unfair and undemocratic.

There is a large sector of the community that are against wind "power stations " in our area. We have formed a group, REAL Monaro Inc.(reduced emissions and landscape for Monaro) to represent those who wish to preserve the Monaro for future generations.


The government is now looking at other alternatives for energy including biofuels, solar, geothermal, tidal, nuclear, hydrogen etc and the energy debate is in full swing. The Council should think very carefully before jeopardising the strong tourist industry in this Shire that will only grow stronger as the world becomes more developed and there are fewer places of untouched beauty like the Monaro to visit.





Elizabeth Litchfield


Cooma 2630



(member of REAL Monaro INC. - Reduced Emissions and Landscape for Monaro)