James Handley hopes to transform his Bungal property into a holiday destination but fears the planned Moorabool wind farm will have adverse affects on tourism in his town.
He says his eight-hectare property on Egerton-Ballark Road is in an “ideal location” –fairly close to Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne – but worries the wind farms will be an eyesore and drive away tourists.
The proposed wind farm would adjoin his property.
“I believe if you put these things in a location close to homes … we will lose the utility of the property because nobody will want to come and stay at this retreat,” Mr Handley said.
“These wind farms will only create a wasteland. Beautiful locations that could create future employment in tourism and business would just have sheep roaming in them.”
Mr Handley said he did not know of any towns where tourism had been affected by wind farms but said people visited rural and regional towns to escape the noise and high rises and “they don’t want wind turbines”.
“There’s a worldwide movement against wind farms because of the health effects, the infrasound, the flicker and the shading,” he said. “Then there’s the annoyance effect … people get angry because they’re big, they’re there and they take up all of [the person’s] thought space.”
Moorabool mayor Allan Comrie conceded wind farms had adverse effects on tourism.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It will have an adverse effect on a lot of things, lifestyle, health and tourism. They’re an eyesore, but that’s in the eye of the beholder.”
Cr Comrie said he was worried trucks bringing in equipment to build the wind turbines would ruin Moorabool’s roads, and underground water supplies could be damaged when holes were dug for the turbines’ foundation.
Moorabool Environment Group president Ben Courtice said wind farms did not adversely affect tourism.
“They’re worrying about nothing,” he said. “And the comments about eyesore, there’s a lot of hypocrisy about that. Eyesore from a digging a coal mine isn’t a problem but wind turbines are?”
“Moorabool Shire needs to go forward, develop and be involved with the leverage it because of all the locations close to it – Daylesford, Ballarat, Macedon Ranges.