Beetaloo Backlash: Local Council Joins Fight to Stop French Wind Power Developer Wrecking Another South Australian Community

The Beetaloo Valley, to the south-west of Laura, is yet another idyllic rural community nestled in the rolling hills of South Australia’s mid-North threatened by a foreign-owned wind power outfit.

A few weeks back, STT reported on efforts by the defenders of that community to prevent its destruction by a French wind power outfit, Neoen (who else but the French could come up with such a clumsy and stupid name?).

Having rallied their troops, the Beetaloo Valley’s defenders have been joined by the local Council.

Residents celebrate Port Pirie council decision to oppose energy park development
Flinders News
Patrick Martin
25 May 2017

As the battle to stop a windfarm and energy park development in the Southern Flinders intensifies, concerned residents of Beetaloo Valley and Crystal Brook have a new ally in Port Pirie Regional Council.

The proposed plan by Neoen Energy hit another hurdle on Wednesday night, as PPRC voted to “actively oppose” the plan in line with their development policy for the zone.

The energy park would see 16 wind farm towers installed at the southern beginnings of the Flinders Ranges around Crystal Brook and Beetaloo Valley. Plans also include the installation of a solar farm and battery storage units west of the ranges.

The area proposed for many of the wind farm towers sits in council’s Ranges Zone as identified in the municipality’s 2013 Development Plan. This plan states that this zone should be protected from developments which impact the “scenic amenity of the area”.

Beetaloo Valley resident Jim Spry said if the development goes ahead the whole region will feel the impact.

“You can’t save the environment by destroying us,” Jim said.

“You will see the turbines from Port Pirie. You can see them from the moon, quite frankly.”

During debate on the move, Cr Dino Gadaleta questioned council’s development and regulation director, Grant McKenzie, about how the council planned to “actively oppose” the proposal.

Mr McKenzie said that while the final decision on the proposal did not rest with council, direct correspondence expressing council’s opposition to the plan would be made to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock.

Cr Debbie Devlin said that a “dangerous precedent” could be set for the Southern Flinders if the Crystal Brook Energy Park proposal is fulfilled.

“It is important to understand that the council is not against wind farms or renewable energy – we have both in our region already,” Cr Devlin said.

“But it is important that we stand up strongly to our Development Plan.”

Concerned Beetaloo Valley resident John Birrell attended the council meeting and was happy with council’s resolution to oppose the development.

“It confirms what we have been telling Neoen ever since they first met with us in February,” John said.

“Their proposal is contrary to both council’s development plan and the state-wide wind farm development plan.

“We hope this decision will make them rethink.”

Mr Birrell said that “only time will tell” if council measures would make a a difference.

“It is the Planning Minister John Rau who makes the final decision … the council can only influence the Development Assessment Commission, as can we as citizens,” he said.

Beetaloo Valley Association member Ian Peterson agreed with Mr Birrell’s sentiments.

“We hope the government will respect the zoning by the council and it is the people of the state who own the zone and the Flinders Ranges,” he said.

“It is a win and we have an additional ally in supporting our position.”
Flinders News

These people do not have “concerns”, these people are furious; they have a long-recognised legal right to protect their ability to use and enjoy their homes and properties, free from interference from excessive noise.

In our previous report – First Strike: Communities Threatened by Wind Farms Gathering Own Noise Data to Later Sue Turbine Hosts & Developers in Nuisance – we detailed how this and other groups in Australia are taking over the ‘game’, by purchasing their own state-of-the-art noise monitoring kit in order to gather and control the evidence that will be used to prosecute developers for breaches of the noise conditions of their planning permits and/or to pursue developers and the farmers who host turbines in common law noise nuisance claims, should the threatened wind farm ever be built.

STT hears that members of the Beetaloo Valley community have almost completed their acoustic training in ‘Environmental Noise Measurement & Assessment’, through Dr Bob Thorne and the Acoustar Work Health & Safety Training Centre: click here for details of the course

And they are not alone, as other community defenders in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have also started purchasing noise monitoring kit, with the best and brightest of their members also undertaking the Acoustar course (we’re told the very eager students include engineers, science teachers, nurses and lawyers).

No longer will these groups be at the mercy of the wind industry’s pet acoustic consultants, pretending to ‘lose’ data or fabricating noise ‘compliance’ reports. Instead, they will be armed with a wealth of admissible evidence, ready to defend their rights in a court of law.

From this point on, the only people with ‘concerns’ will be wind power outfits, their pet acoustic consultants (responsible in negligence for writing wholly inadequate noise rules and producing bogus, ‘made-to-measure’ noise reports) and the farmers foolish enough to host their turbines.

Now, a very real concern for the wind industry.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Rau is manoeuvring changes to Planning regulations around the State to enable installation of massiveTurbines and fracking to occur with or without a ‘Social Licence’.
    He makes changes as he pleases and everyone has to bow to his ‘better’ judgement, he cares little for what the people want, he cares little if he destroys this States ability to provide a safe, healthy and liveable environment for all, he cares little for anything which doesn’t meet his desire for self-aggrandizement, power and the removal of Democracy.
    Rau has set himself up as the ‘true’ leader of this State probably in cohorts with the SDA Union which has 12 members in Parliament, including Koutsantonis and Malinauskas who was not elected into Parliament but was placed there in 2015 after an MP’s resignation and will not face an election until 2018.
    Rau could be described as having the consummate ‘ducks back’, he paddles like mad below water to maneuver around but looks calm above and nothing seems to stick to him.
    With a Government like this it’s no wonder SA has lost the plot and is going down fast, with Weatherill heading it up, albeit just as a puppet.
    He has let the State down he has allowed those who placed him in the leaders role to pull the strings, and we are not laughing at his antics as we watch those truly holding power destroy our State.
    Social Licence is something that will not be tolerated by the power brokers of this State Government unless it suits theirs and their backer’s agenda’s.
    Maybe, just maybe if enough people stand tall and support Port Pirie Council and the residents who are fighting for their lives, livelihood and the environment the company will accept they have a costly fight on their hands and leave.
    Letters to the local and State papers, as well as the Port Pirie Council giving support for their stance, and letters to the Government and Rau in particular venting your distaste for such a project which will destroy not only the visual aspect but the environment.
    Here in SA we have to wait for 2018 before we can get rid of this Government, but that does not mean we have to sit silent while they destroy the State, we can make it known they do not have a right to do what ever they want without consideration of the long term and/or permanent affects on the environment and economy of this State and those people and creatures who live in it.
    We need to make it known they do not have the right to ignore the people, that they are there to serve the people not themselves and their mates.
    It’s time Australians everywhere began to stand up and speak out about this wholesale destruction of this beautiful land. While many media outlets are too insecure in their positions to speak out, we can make a difference because if we speak out often and loudly enough they will eventually have to listen and report. If you write a letter to an editor or ring a talk back radio program try to include a question which requires an answer from someone.
    Posters on fences in town and country locations can keep people’s attention of a subject. Calling information meetings whether there is a project on the cards or not, as being informed is being ready to immediately challenge.
    While attending meetings organized to ‘inform’ you of a project making sure your questions are answered and you are heard, be seen and do not shy away from demanding detailed pertinent questions are answered there and then and not allow them to say they will get back to you.
    If they don’t know the answer they should be able to find the answer – they all have modern communication devises with them so they should be able to answer any question there and then.
    The media is not always in attendance, if not make sure you record or take notes to pass on to reporters, and remember they always like to write about a meeting which is well attended and has a degree of ‘confrontation’ created from questions being asked.
    Even better if you can confuse those you are asking questions off, no need for physical confrontation when unanswered or evaded questions cause them a degree of discomfort.
    Remember BE HEARD, because if you sit silent no one will know what you do or do not want.

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    As the battle to stop a windfarm and energy park development in the Southern Flinders intensifies, concerned residents of Beetaloo Valley and Crystal Brook have a new ally in Port Pirie Regional Council.
    The proposed plan by Neoen Energy hit another hurdle on Wednesday night, as PPRC voted to “actively oppose” the plan in line with their development policy for the zone.

  3. It was John Rau and Mike Rann who changed the laws so that no-one could appeal on loss of ‘Visual Amenity’ back in 2011
    http://www.renewablessa.sa.gov.au/proponents-guide/wind-farms

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