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Councillors to be investigated

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has confirmed it is conducting an investigation to determine who leaked an internal email to councillors to the public.
The email, from chief executive officer Tim Tamlin, explained the reasons for a delay in council finding a suitable consultant to test noise levels produced by the Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower.
The email explains that two months after an order from the Supreme Court to do so, he requested an investigation plan from an independent expert in the field.
Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt recently used her Mayors Message column in the press to say she was disappointed a councillor may have leaked the email. Mr Tamlin said council was now looking into why the email was leaked.
The mayor’s statements were criticised by some councillors, who said she used her column inappropriately, with suggestions she should resign.
But Cr Brunt said she would stand firm in her role.
“The Mayors Message is the mayor’s message,” she said, noting concerns were raised by a minority of councillors and their allies in the community.
“I intend to lead from the front with strong leadership.”
Neighbours of the wind farm claimed turbine noise was affecting their health and engaged law firm DST Legal to call for council to act. Council is responsible for monitoring wind farm noise.
In August last year, the court ordered council to undertake a proper study after council officers initially assessed noise levels by using their ears only.
Mr Tamlin will now face the Supreme Court on March 20 to explain council’s actions in complying with the court’s order from August.
Speaking to The Star on Friday, Mr Tamlin said he had hoped to have a costed investigation plan to the December council meeting for council to approve, but the consultant was unable to give that information due to previous work commitments.
He said the investigation plan would now come before the February 28 council meeting for council deliberation.
“We have to establish if the wind farm is causing a nuisance and if that nuisance is adversely affecting people’s health and wellbeing,” he said.
Mr Tamlin said he believed independent auditors appointed by Bald Hills Wind Farm – as per its planning permit requirements – had found no noise issues, apart from one turbine that was located away from houses.
The CEO said he did not see the value of calling an extraordinary meeting of council in January to discuss the investigation plan, saying councillors needed to have time off. He was also on leave then.
Mr Tamlin said he was concerned about the cost to ratepayers of the legal action, but said had council found noise to be a problem, Bald Hills Wind Farm would have likely appealed, also resulting in legal costs to ratepayers.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24035

Posted by on Feb 13 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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