inEden Logo Sun

Wind Farms and Tourism

Wind Farms and Tourism

In a "Clean Energy for Eternity" article in Merimbula News Weekly, 28/12/11, Matthew Nott asserts that a wind farm in Twofold Bay would not produce any negative effects for tourism at Eden. He cites a 2001 Victorian opinion poll in support of his case, but that poll predated the 2002 completion of the first wind farm to be approved by the Victorian planning tribunal. The 2001 poll did not anticipate the rapid and dramatic change in public attitudes that took place after 2002 when many people began to have first-hand experience with wind turbines. A survey conducted now would produce very different results!

The fact that the Victorian Minister for Planning approved an absolute prohibition on wind farms in sensitive locations including "significant tourist destinations" last August

(Department of Planning and Community Development website: Amendment VC82) speaks volumes about the way wind turbines can spoil the visitor appreciation of significant landscapes like Twofold Bay.


Matthew's article goes on to refer to wind industry propaganda and places in other States where wind farms still have some curiosity value and easily accessible theme parks have been established. This, of course, will change as wind farms become commonplace and are constructed closer to where tourists live. We say that the recent response of the Victorian Government to community concerns is a vastly superior barometer of the likely effect on tourism at Eden than the tired references cited by Matthew.


As an evangelist for clean energy, Matthew focuses on only one element of the environment - the air environment. Other elements with equal ranking are land and water. Any environmental professional will tell you that one environmental objective, however laudable, should not be blindly pursued at the expense of others. The green triangle, which has become a symbol of environmental justice, grew out of public opposition to the flooding of the Franklin River to create a dam for hydro-electric production (the ultimate "clean energy"). Just as Tasmanians fought to protect their "wild river", we are fighting to protect the iconic "Wilderness Coast" attributes of Twofold Bay and its undeniable tourist appeal.


Council has adopted Ecologically Sustainable Development as a guiding principle. ESD requires a "triple bottom line" balancing of environmental, social and economic considerations. The landscape environment should not be spoiled by non-essential industrial intrusion and a tiny 7 turbine wind farm is hardly "essential". Our social wellbeing depends upon unifying, rather than divisive, issues (like wind farms) and hope for the future is very important. Tourism is Eden's only real growth industry. Diminish that, and our social and economic future would be very bleak indeed.


At the end of his article, Matthew says "It is fair enough to be concerned about the visual impact of wind farms" (we agree) but "It seems unreasonable to complain about their impact on tourism". We say it is not in the least unreasonable in circumstances where the major tourist drawcard is relatively unspoilt Wilderness Coast and a bay renowned for its natural beauty. Detrimental impact on tourism in this particular area is a no-brainer Matthew!
Peter Barber, Eden