The Circular Head Council is under fire over allegations it tried to stifle community opposition to major wind farm projects.
But mayor Daryl Quilliam said the council has “certainty got nothing to hide” and was “happy to talk to people at any time”.
The concerns relate to a meeting held on Thursday for the communities of Montagu and Woolnorth, districts close to the $1.5 billion wind farms proposed for Jim’s Plain and Robbins Island.
Circular Head Coastal Awareness Network spokesperson Kim Anderson said the council only held the meeting after a specific request, despite the fact they hosted a series of sessions for other communities including Rocky Cape and Marrawah.
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The group is also concerned that the council failed to advertise the meeting in The Circular Head Chronicle “despite having committed to do so”, required all participants to send questions in advance and “altered the format of the meeting numerous times”.
“We questioned what the role of the council is in representing the community,” Mrs Anderson said.
“People felt more frustrated, unheard and feeling no further informed than before they walked in. The process felt like a farce.”
Mrs Anderson said the wind farm projects were “at an industrial scale” and would “significantly impact in the visual, community and lifestyle of residents forever”.
She said there was clearly “huge opposition to the proposed wind farms” and the mayor and council were “out of touch with the community and unwilling to address the communities’ concerns”.
Cr Quilliam rejected the suggestion the council was trying to stifle opposition and said community members could voice their opinions at meetings and workshops.
He also doubted there was huge opposition as there were only “about 25 people” at the meeting on Thursday.
“With any project you have in your community there are going to be people who are against that project and that’s just part and parcel of anything that happens in the community.” he said.
“People are allowed to have that opinion and I respect their right to have an opinion one way or another.”
Cr Quilliam said all the other meetings the council held followed the same format and were advertised by handing out fliers.
He said the disruption of COVID-19 was the reason why the council “hadn’t gotten around to” hosting a meeting at Woolnorth and Montagu.
Cr Quilliam said the council was hamstrung about answering specific questions about the wind farms because it had to act as a planning body and had yet to receive an application from the developer.
“Until we find out what’s in the planning application to see whether everything has been done properly, I couldn’t say whether I’m for or against it because I don’t know what’s in the report,” he said.
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