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Wind farm study to cost council $33,600

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council is proposing to spend $33,600 on an independent assessment of noise produced by the turbines at Bald Hills Wind Farm.
A report before the February 28 council meeting recommends councillors approve the appointment of consultants James C. Smith and Associates to undertake an investigation detailed in a confidential plan.
The action was ordered by the Supreme Court, after neighbours of the Tarwin Lower wind farm were dissatisfied with council officers initially assessing noise levels with their ears only and finding no noise issues.
Council chief executive officer Tim Tamlin has been ordered to address the Supreme Court on March 20 and explain what action council has taken so far to comply with a court order to investigate noise levels at the wind farm.
The report to next week’s council meeting states that on September 14 last year, council instructed its lawyers to identify a suitably qualified independent investigator to undertake the investigation.
“On 2 November 2017, the investigator suggested by council’s lawyers was briefed and an investigation proposal and quote were requested,” the council report states.
“Unfortunately due to the investigator’s prior commitments, these were not forthcoming in time to be received by council at its December 2017 Ordinary Meeting of Council, as was originally intended.
“A draft plan was received in December 2017 and instructions were given to proceed to a full investigation plan with an articulation of costs to undertake the work detailed.
“The proposal and quote have now been received and are presented to council for endorsement.”
The report stated the recommendation before council ensured “a comprehensive investigation process that will be undertaken by a highly experienced independent public health consultant.
“The importance of an independent process cannot be understated. Ratepayers, the complainants, the wind farm operator and ultimately the council have an interest in the outcome of the investigation.”
Mr Tamlin told The Star the plan was determined as confidential under s.77(2)(c) of the Local Government Act 1989, on the grounds that it relates to s.89(2)(f) – legal advice. This is to protect the confidential information of the legal matter.
“Once the investigation is complete, council will receive a report on the outcome. Its form is yet to be determined,” he said.
Cr Don Hill said the confidential report needed to be confidential due to it containing quotations.
“There is nothing else of interest to ratepayers that is not contained in the open report in the agenda,” he said.
An advertisement in last week’s Star by Bald Hills Wind Farm stated its noise assessment had found turbines complied with daytime noise regulations as outlined in its planning permit.
“The wind farm is also compliant with noise regulations at night for 12 of the 13 locations assessed under its endorsed monitoring program,” the ad stated.
Of the location not compliant, noise levels were slightly above compliance levels, but people would not be able to perceive the difference between wind farm noise at this location compared to locations that were compliant.
The wind farm will now implement a noise mitigation strategy and achieve compliance.
The advertisement also stated its two year Bat and Avifauna Management Plan Implementation Report had been endorsed by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The wind farm said turbines would not threaten the survival of bats and birds of concern, such as the Orange-Bellied Parrot.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24101

Posted by on Feb 20 2018. Filed under Featured, 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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