LANDOWNERS surrounding the Murra Warra wind farm are concerned that roads might not be usable after the wind farm’s construction.
Murra Warra wind farm developers Renewable Energy Systems are obligated under its planning permit to return roads to the Horsham Rural City and Yarriambiack Shire councils at a usable standard.
Construction for the 116-turbine wind farm started in early March. The developer expects the turbines to be operating by mid-2019.
However, landowners raised issues with the current road standard at a consultation session with Horsham Council at Kalkee.
Victorian Farmers Federation president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said he believed developers might return roads to its current conditions rather than a usable standard.
“At the moment roads are at a very poor state and it is a concern that it is going to stay at that state,” he said. “If the agreement is that the wind farm will be looked after roads to a usable standard then we want council to hold them to account.”
Horsham Council will receive revenue from the Murra Warra wind farm. Mr Jochinke said he hoped the revenue will be injected back into the road network.
“The gap between where it should be to where they are is widening every year,” he said. “We understand that council has limited resources, but this is a bit of a gift to them and let’s use it for the people where the wind farm is going to be.”
Kewell farmer Bruce Crafter said landowners in the area want council to hold the developers accountable for the road’s condition throughout the entire duration of the project.
“I think everyone who lives in the area does not want their roads getting worse,” he said.
“They are relying on us farmers to tell them when the roads are poor. We have been telling the shires for years that the roads are poor, but they don’t seem to do anything about it.”
Horsham Council’s technical services director John Martin said RES agreed to upgrade and maintain sections of the roads during construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm. Mr Martin said council will receive a financial deposit that will provide a safeguard.
“They will be upgrading a section of the Minyip-Dimboola Road, Five Chain Road and some other local roads in the area prior to starting work,” he said. “The condition of the roads when RES takes them on will be of a suitable standard and the condition of the planning permit requires that at the end of their operations they are returned in a suitable condition.”