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CEO to face court

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council chief executive officer Tim Tamlin will front the Supreme Court to answer questions over the Bald Hills Wind Farm.

A directions hearing of the court held last Wednesday ordered Mr Tamlin to be examined in court. He will be asked about the action council has taken to comply with a court order to investigate noise levels at the Tarwin Lower wind farm.

The Star was told council opposed the order, saying there was a council meeting taking place on February 28 where council would consider a proposed course of action.

Council’s executive had planned to put a report about a noise investigation plan to councillors for approval at the December 2017 meeting, but this will not come before council until the February 28 meeting.

Council sought to adjourn the direction hearing until after the council meeting, but the court refused.

The date Mr Tamlin will be examined is yet to be confirmed by the court but is likely to be in March.

This order came about after council failed to adequately address the concerns of neighbours, who said excessive noise produced by turbines was affecting their health.

Council is the authority responsible for monitoring noise compliance at the wind farm under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

Mr Tamlin returns from leave today (Tuesday).

Acting council CEO Faith Page said, “We understand that Tim has been asked to appear sometime in March. We are confident that the independent investigation will be underway by that time.

“Council’s lawyers will brief Tim on the outcome of the hearing when he returns to work.”

Landowner John Zakula engaged Melbourne law firm DST Legal to act on his behalf.

Council officers initially determined the noise levels of the turbines by using their ears only and not specialist noise monitoring equipment, and concluded turbine noise was not at nuisance levels.

The court action could turn out to be significant cost for council – and ratepayers. Council has already been forced to pay neighbours’ legal fees of $20,000 following last year’s Supreme Court action, in addition to council’s own costs.

Council said the delay in responding to the court order was due to the time taken to find a suitably qualified investigator.

In an email from Mr Tamlin to councillors sent in late December 2017, and leaked to the public, Mr Tamlin states that on November 2, 2017 – two months after the court order – he requested an investigation plan from an independent expert in the field.

“Due to their availability it took some time for them to prepare a draft plan to undertake the work, but it has been received,” he said.

“I have requested for this to be finalised and costed so a report can be presented to you at the February council meeting.”

Mr Tamlin’s email continued, “It is not ideal that it is taking so long to get to this stage, but I believe we cannot afford to get this wrong and that careful planning will ensure satisfaction with the process for all concerned.”

As for whether the leaking of the email would be investigated by council, Cr Brunt said, “I believe council is obligated to investigate any breaches of the Victorian Government Act 1989 and all necessary investigation processes have been enacted. I am unable to make further comment on the matter.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23976

Posted by on Feb 6 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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