11 February 2015
Submission to Bombala Sire Council from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery,
Richardsons Rd, Bombala, NSW, 2632
Re: Proposed wind turbine blade monument installation
The Holy Transfiguration Monastery (HTM) is situated on the MacLaughlin River, 37kms west of Bombala township and 5.8kms to the nearest functioning wind turbine. One of the monks, Fr Sergei Shatrov, is on the board of the Community Consultation Committee (CCC) for Boco Rock Wind Farm. The monastery hosts up to and over 2,500 people per annum and has currently 10 members full time in its community.
HTM commends Bombala Council for inviting submissions over whether this broken turbine blade should be installed locally as a monument or not. HTM opposes strongly any such move to go ahead and install this single blade as a monument. The reasons for the opposition of such an installation are listed below.
1. Community division
The wind turbine debate has been a contentious issue for some time on the Monaro - going back over a decade now. This battle has resulted in families, relatives and friends being divided and torn apart whether to accept the turbines on their land or not. Any blade installation will be a sore reminder for those disaffected and NOT create and enhance community harmony. Having been involved with families disaffected from wind turbine and coal-seam gas developments since 2011, there is no justification of a symbolical monument of pain being erected.
2. Shadow flicker
Wind turbines create ‘shadow flickering’. This is the phenomena of the wind blade passing across the face of the sunlight and creating a noticeable sweeping shadow of the blade movement on the ground. Some people are negatively affected by the impact of shadow flicker1 - or who live in the western or eastern sunlight/shadow path of the wind turbines. Because the turbines are built on the edge of the Snowy River Way pass at Sherwood Range, they have apparently caused some ‘fright’ for people driving through this pass. Any blade installation in Bombala will be a failure in recognising the driving hazards wind turbines pose when they are built next to one of the main roads of Bombala Shire or to those who don't approve of them flickering in front of their bedroom windows.
3. Lack of consistent policy
While Bombala Council initially stated in its Draft Submission on Boco Rock Wind Farm that all turbines had to be within a 1km buffer from all major roads such as the Snowy River Way2, it backflipped and hastily capitulated to the developers demands with no thorough or proper scrutiny, allowing the developer to place as many turbines they could squeeze in on the road of Snowy River Way. A single damaged turbine blade installation in Bombala will only highlight a historical policy backflip and inconsistency over the contentiousness of these wind turbines.
4. Its not art
Any concept that a wind turbine blade is a piece of art, has lost the meaning to true beauty and is in the throes of an artistic catharsis. A single damaged (and unwanted) turbine blade does not reflect any artistic integrity in a region that already is saturated by its own natural beauty. Littering the landscape further with a turbine blade monument is simply ugly. Beauty will save the world3 - not wind turbine blades.
5. The meaning of a monument
Monuments are installed as a memorial and as a testament to achievement4. The turbines haven't even been functioning for a year let alone operating since late November 2014. History is to judge in time whether Boco Rock Wind Farm is to be a success in achieving its mission statement of reducing CO2 emissions, cutting electricity prices, creating local employment and creating a truly better planet within its operational life of 10-20 years. Erecting a single damaged blade monument as a testament to wind turbines three months after operational activity initiated is premature to say the least.
6. Potential health Impacts
From our pastoral in-person outreach to wind turbine affected communities in Australia, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Ireland, UK and Germany, there is much debate and contentiousness in quantifying and qualifying people who become ill over time due to the presence of these turbines. One of the most recent ground breaking researches in Australia into the ongoing unresolved problem has just been released5 and has opened the way up for medical trials to begin on the health impacts from wind turbines on civilian populations. In the event that someone in Bombala Shire is adversely affected health wise from wind turbines, installing a damaged turbine blade as a monument will be highly contentious. While independent assessment of wind farm, and in fact any large scaled industrial project taking place adjacent to homes of people, impacts will be ongoing for years to come, monuments such as proposed here should desist from the shrill of populism and approach this emerging issue with respect and caution.
Bombala Shire Council must NOT erect any monument glorifying wind turbines as their presence has caused and is causing enough detrimental effects and problems for many years to come.
Fr Sergei Shatrov
Holy Transfiguration Monastery
2 Bombala Council Draft Submission on Boco Rock Wind Farm Development, Amenity Impacts,1st February 2010
3 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot