Residents lodge petition over Port Fairy Consolidated School turbine

The turbine at Port Fairy Consolidated School.
The turbine at Port Fairy Consolidated School.

CONCERNED residents have lodged a petition with Moyne Shire asking for a wind turbine at Port Fairy Consolidated School to be relocated. 

Resident Paul Cross is leading the campaign and said he and other O’Reilly Street residents, south of Avery Street, were concerned a blade could fly off and injure or kill a child.

Mr Cross told the council at a recent meeting that “should (the turbine) shed a blade, it could fly up to 150 metres at high speed” and hit nearby houses, children or residents.

The school erected the 12-metre high, two-kilowatt high velocity turbine on its land in 2007. 

He said he understood the turbine was there to educate the kids on environmental sustainability and saved the school up to $400 per year in electricity costs, but neighbours weren’t consulted and no impact study had been done.

Mr Cross said the turbine was placed 30 to 40 metres away from homes, about 20 metres from the school playground and less than 10 metres from the school hall.

“It is impossible to find a wind turbine such as this one as close to buildings anywhere in the world,” he said. 

“We’re not complaining about the wind turbine – we’re complaining about the position. We support the school in their endeavours. The residents and I don't have a problem with the turbine per se. It’s the location which is totally wrong - on government levels and manufactures guidelines.”

A Department of Education spokesperson said “the turbine presents no safety risk to children or neighbours”.

“The department is aware of one local resident who is unhappy with the wind turbine and has sought to address their concerns,” the spokesperson said.

"The wind turbine continues to be strongly supported by many in the school and local community and helps children in the school, and those who visit, understand the future of energy use.”

Port Fairy Consolidated School acting principal Neil Sproal said a shire officer informed the school of the petition on Friday, but “what the petition says, I don’t know”.

“The school followed all regulatory requirement in the establishing the wind turbine,” Mr Sproal said.

“The location was carefully assessed.”

Moyne Shire councillors will consider the petition at the next meeting.