A number of wind farm supporters spoke at Collector today in favour of modifications to the Collector Wind Farm. A small group of around 30 people gathered at the Planning Assessment Commission hearing to discuss modifications to access roads, blade length, noise compliance and biodiversity.
Sixth generation Collector resident and President of the Collector Pumpkin Festival, Gary Poile, spoke of his hopes that the wind farm would help Collector set itself apart as a sustainable community.
“In the nineteenth century, Collector was home to a windmill that powered a flour mill. That enterprise was a symbol of the people that had migrated here from the other side of the world forging out a new life in a new land,” Mr Poile said.
“170 years later we have another opportunity to embrace renewable energy and lead the way for other communities to follow.
Mr Poile, who is also a host landholder for the project, noted that while there were vocal opponents to the project, there were also supporters.
“My engagement with the community means I know how it feels about the wind farm. There are probably equal numbers of supporters and opponents but the larger group don’t really care either way.
Community advocacy group for wind, the Australian Wind Alliance, argued that the use of larger blades within the existing 150 metre tip height was an effective way to improve the efficiency of the wind farm without increasing impacts.
“This design change ensures that new wind farms in New South Wales will use the most up to date technologies,” said Andrew Bray, AWA National Coordinator.
“Increased output from larger blades is enough to power the villages of Collector, Gunning and Murrumbateman with clean energy. This is on top of the 65,000 homes the current project would power.
The issue of the Upper Lachlan Shire’s attempts to overrule the local community about the project's Community Enhancement Fund was also a hot topic.
“The Community Consultative Committee for the Collector Wind Farm has been a strong and effective advocate for the interests of the local community,” said Charlie Prell, NSW Organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance.
“The Council’s attempts to dictate to the community how the community fund is spent is inappropriate and should be resisted.
“We hope the Council will allow the community to implement the fund design that best suits their needs without undue interference.