Plans to construct a wind farm a few kilometres away from the centre of Stanley have strong support in the business community but not everyone is on board.
The Western Plains Wind Farm is a 50 megawatt project consisting of 12 turbines along the northern point of the Stanley peninsula.
Stanley Chamber of Commerce chair Bernard Atkins said he along with the majority of chamber members supported the project at this stage, particularly given the expected economic benefits during the construction phase.
“I know not everyone is in favour of it but at the end of the day we need more power into the grid,” he said.
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“And we need business in Circular Head and we need business in Stanley and we’re trying to accept at that.”
Mr Atkins “fully understood” not everyone agreed with the wind farm but argued there was always “a percentage” of opposition to any project.
“There is some people in the chamber that oppose it but it’s like that with the salmon farm,” he said.
“What people need to know is more information about the effect of these enterprises.”
TOURISM INDUSTRY ‘INDIFFERENT’
The Western Plains turbines would be clearly visible from the top of The Nut, which is regarded as the biggest tourism attraction in Circular Head.
But Circular Head Tourism Association president Clint Walker said the industry was “indifferent” about the project, along with the other major wind farm proposal on Robbins Island.
“Some people don’t care you’d be able to see this wind farm from the top of The Nut. Other people do care but are of the strong opinion of the need to get into renewable energy,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s too much of a worry for most people. No one is jumping up and down about it.”
Mr Walker said the Circular Head community had a “higher tolerance” for the co-existence of industry.
“If it was a bunch of people down Sandy Bay way, latte sippers from Salamanca, there would probably be more against the proposal but up our way they tolerate logging and farming,” he said.
Mr Walker said if people were concerned about the visual impact of wind turbines from atop The Nut they should “have a look at bloody Port Latta across the other way”.
“We’re not excited about the visual impact but we understand the need to invest in our area and progress and in particular the need to stop burning coal,” he said.
VISUAL IMPACT INVESTIGATED
The Western Plains Wind Farm is being developed by Epuron and executive director Martin Poole said he understood members of the community would be interested in the visual impact of the project.
“So that’s an important part of the environmental impact assessment we’re writing and that will be published soon,” he said.
Mr Poole said the company had conducted “a lot of consultation with the community” and released computer generated images showing how the turbines would look.
“It’s not visible at all from a lot of locations,” he said.
“It’s five kilometres (from the Stanley township). So that’s close or not close depending on your perspective.”
Mr Poole said there had been a lot of positive feedback from the community about the project, including about the economic boost during the construction phase.
“We’re excited and proud to be opening it. It’s a world class wind resource, as any local will tell you,” he said.
“It fits well with the state’s 200 per cent renewable target and we’re proud to be developing it.”