Health issues raised in windfarm debate

PULSING sensations in the head, ringing in the ears and nocturnal panic attacks are some of the symptoms which Millicent beef producer David Mortimer claims have led him to consider suicide.

Mr Mortimer almost broke down while giving evidence against Infigen Energy's proposed Woakwine Windfarm to Wattle Range Council's independent Development Assessment Panel (DAP).

The DAP welcomed comments from residents on Monday as part of the decision making process on the approval of the proposed windfarm.

"To have the continuous pulsing in your head, it is like your brain getting squeezed, you can't get away from it, there is no escape, I can put in ear plugs, but it is still there," Mr Mortimer said.

"I get nocturnal panic attacks at night - I don't know what I'm trying to get away from."

During the day Mr Mortimer experienced dizziness, feelings of his heart being in high speed "flutter" mode, fits of depression and wanted to go to sleep "and not wake up".

"I've considered suicide when I've been in a state of depression, and I've never been that way before," he said.

"My wife experiences acute bouts of dizziness and loss of balance that only occurs when we are home.

"Clinical tests have failed to find a cause and medications have had no effect."

They did not experience any of the symptoms until "after the (Lake Bonney) turbines were commissioned and in operation," Mr Mortimer said.

Many years ago Mr Mortimer and his wife signed a confidentiality agreement to receive thousands of dollars annually for two Lake Bonney wind turbines on their farm.

One was 750 metres from their house and the symptoms started within a year, but they did not believe they were caused by the turbines.

But unable to stand the whooshing sound, they purchased a 10 acre block and built an energy efficient dream home, 2.5km from the nearest turbine.

However, he claims they were still affected, although symptoms disappeared as soon as they left their new home for one or two days.

If Infigen Energy's windfarm is approved, the view from the Mortimer's new home will no longer be sunsets across coastal dunes and water, but an arc of 23 turbines.

"In the quantities proposed, in no man's language could the frantic tangle of knives in the sky be considered aesthetically pleasing, especially when they are in ones face day after day for the rest of our lives," Mr Mortimer said.

Lake Bonney resident Katherine Downs presented a letter on behalf of Lake Bonney Windfarm owners highlighting a heads of agreement "that no windmill will be placed further northward than on top of Elephant Hill".

She gave evidence the document was recognised by council, and on that basis she and her husband purchased their property.

Mrs Downs said she and her husband were never advised of Infigen's proposed Woakwine Windfarm.

She already had a turbine 1.5km from her home and "we do hear them quite loudly when the wind blows from the east", even when the doors and windows are closed.

Mrs Downs slammed the current development process as "secretive, underhanded and destructive to all of the property owners".

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