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Cherry Tree Farm, Trawool/Whiteheads Creek

Planning application: P306963/12

Address: 595 Homewood Road and 870 Kobyboyn Road Whiteheads Creek and 410 and 900 Greenslopes Road, Trawool

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a planning permit for the use and development of a wind energy facility in Trawool/Whiteheads Creek.

Background

In April 2012 Council received an application from Cherry Tree Wind Farm Pty Ltd for the use and development of a wind energy facility (wind farm) in Trawool/Whiteheads Creek.

The proposal included:

  • Construction of 16 wind turbines with a height of approximately 159 metres (poles height of 100 metres and blade height of 59 metres)
  • Associated infrastructure including a substation, overhead and underground cabling, site office and an operations building
  • Earthworks to allow access to the site
  • Removal of native vegetation to facilitate access and infrastructure on the site

Council undertook consultation with the community and received approximately 110 objections to the proposal and five letters in support of the proposal.

The applicant then appealed to VCAT and the application was included on the Major Cases List.

VCAT Hearing

The VCAT hearing commenced on 29 January 2013 and concluded on 18 March 2013.

Council defended its resolution that the wind farm was inappropriate due to its unacceptable impact to the Trawool Valley and Whiteheads Creek landscape and that it would result in unacceptable visual amenity for the area (amongst other things).

The Tribunal issued an interim order on 4 April 2013 where it determined that the visual and noise impacts of the facility would be acceptable and that the turbines would not give rise to problems associated with bushfire, salinity, erosion, aviation, vegetation clearance or wildlife habitat.

In making their interim order, the VCAT members also adjourned the matter for a further six months to allow the parties to adduce any further evidence which correlates the incidence of health impacts alleged to be caused by wind turbines with the distance the person impacted lives from the wind turbine.

The VCAT hearing was reconvened to hear this evidence on 23 and 24 October 2013. The Tribunal then issued their final decision on 26 November 2013 where they determined that there is no evidence that wind farms have adverse health effects on health and wellbeing.

VCAT directed that a planning permit be issued on 26 November 2013.

Current Status

The applicant has prepared all necessary plans and documents required under the permit to commence works to develop the windfarm.

The applicant has established a 24 hour inquiries number 1800 917 372 and an inquiries email cherrytree@infigenenergy.com.au