Residents denied the right to object

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THE issue has never been a choice between wind turbines and a nuclear station at St Francis. A real issue is there was no proper public participation by either the developers or the municipality before the go-ahead was given for the development of this so-called “wind farm” on the doorstep of Blue Horizon Bay.

The concomitant result is that the residents did not have an opportunity to make representations about factors such as noise, visual impact, the effect on flora and fauna, and health effects. The residents received a fait accompli. What happened to their constitutional rights?

Marion Baars (“Rather have wind turbines than a nuclear station”, November 5) believes only a “handful of Blue Horizoners” are against this project. This is incorrect, since 352 residents or property owners petitioned against the project.

Baars believes the project would be beneficial not only to our community but to so many others. I know of no benefit to the Blue Horizon Bay community, except a trust that the developers have created for the wider community of which Blue Horizon Bay is a small part.

Baars says only the houses “close to the entry of Blue Horizon Bay see these stately wind turbines”. The wind turbines are visible to houses in many parts of the village, even in Mimosa Street, the farthest point from the entrance to the village, where residents are facing several turbines.

Residents in, for example, Mimosa Street, see these turbines from their front doors and lounges. Houses on the southern side of a street have front doors and front gardens facing north in the direction of the wind turbines.

Baars says my reference to noise pollution and environmental effects is not the truth. You obviously don’t know:

  • The municipality’s own environmental consultants pointed out that it was impossible to comply with the municipality’s noise pollution bylaws;

  • The noise report submitted with the application for environmental authorisation revealed that the site was unacceptable from a noise perspective;

  • The visual impact report submitted by the developers’ own practitioner concluded that of all the sites considered, the Blue Horizon Bay was the least preferable;

  • The same report states the “accepted” distance at which 50% of the public would accept a wind farm from their homes was 3km. All the residences in Blue Horizon Bay are located within a radius of 3km;

  • The experts appointed by the municipality reported negatively on the effect of wind turbines on birds and bats, and tourism;

  • Extensive medical research has highlighted the adverse effects of wind turbines on people’s health and recommended a minimum distance of 2km from any residential property;

  • There is much documented evidence about the adverse impacts of wind turbines.

Most residents of Blue Horizon Bay are against the project. The legal processes have not yet been exhausted.

Baars says wind turbines have brought about a drastic power price reduction in Germany. However, the subsidies required to finance the agreed renewable energy feed-in tariffs are quite enormous.

Consumers foot the bill.

Henk Botha, Blue Horizon Bay, Port Elizabeth

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