24 February 2023

Growing wind action group wants landscape protected

| Gail Eastaway
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REAL Monaro wants to preserve the Monaro landscape. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Local action group, REAL Monaro (Renewable Energy and Landscape Monaro) continues to grow with more than 300 members now registered on Facebook.

The group has put in a submission to Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s draft Land Use Strategies and Local Environment Plan in an effort to have the iconic Monaro landscape, the Treeless Plains and The Brothers, preserved.

The group is in opposition to a giant wind tower facility proposed near Cooma by a Sydney development company, Someva Renewables.

The massive towers project which would be seen from much of the Monaro, is proposed to be located between Cooma and Nimmitabel on both sides of the Snowy Mountains Highway and abreast prominent landmark The Brothers.

The new generation turbines are almost as tall as the largest building in Sydney, the Barangaroo skyscraper at Darling Harbour. At 266 metres, the proposed turbines would be double the height of the Boco Rock towers.

“These towers would ruin the Monaro as we know it,” said REAL Monaro spokesperson George Walters.

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“This project is too close to Cooma and would ruin one of the most scenic parts of our Monaro plain, the area of The Brothers and the Cooma – Nimmitabel road.

“These monstrosities will dwarf the magnificent Monaro landscape. The iconic peaks of The Brothers, are a special part of our heritage. The towers will obliterate the iconic views that locals and tourists love. Our council’s land use policies are supposed to protect our iconic views. This project rides roughshod over our carefully designed strategic land use plans.

“Real Monaro is not opposed to renewable energy. We are asking the Government to limit wind generation to the Boco Rock precinct, where Stage 2 is already approved and Stage 3 planned, and to protect the iconic landscapes valued by the people of the Monaro,” Mr Walters said.

“We are asking the Snowy Monaro Regional Council to protect our landscape in the new LEP. This means rezoning the visual corridor between Cooma and Nimmitabel as RU2 (rural landscape) as well as a visual buffer of 10 kms around The Brothers. This will ensure this iconic area will be protected. If this proposal is allowed to go ahead there is no landscape on the Monaro that will be safe from turbines.”

Somerva Renewables said five landholders were in favour of the project, including one who would host transmission lines.

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Design team leader, Greg Ley advised: “We note that the project is in the early stages of development, in particular the final turbine layout design which will be informed over the next one to two years through environmental studies, grid connection studies, and community consultation.

“We won’t know how close the nearest neighbour’s home to a wind turbine will be until the wind turbine design layout is finalised over the coming years through further studies.

“An indicative wind turbine layout, for further community consultation, will be released with the Scoping Report following the receipt of the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEAR) over the coming months, as this is a State Significant Development under NSW Government legislation.

“However, we note that wind farm developments must meet stringent guidelines including achieving low noise criteria, and therefore it is expected that turbines will not generally be sighted within 1.5 kms of existing dwellings, depending on terrain. We will continue to discuss the outcomes of further studies with all neighbouring dwellings to the project.

“A communications schedule for broader community engagement will be developed and published through a range of mediums (including the project website) following the issuing of SEARs.”

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