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Collector returns to wind for its prosperity

GaryPoile_crop.jpgThe town of Collector has a past with windmills. In 1847 a grain mill opened in the town that was powered by an old-fashioned windmill. Standing on what became known as Mill Hill it operated for over 50 years, turning grain into flour. 

Sixth generation Collector resident and President of the Collector Pumpkin Festival, Gary Poile, told this story to a Planning Assessment hearing in the town that investigated upgrades to the Collector Wind Farm.

Gary was one of a number of people who spoke in support of the changes on the day. AWA was on hand to speak up in support. You can read our presentation here. Gary's full submission is below.

He spoke of his hopes that the wind farm would help Collector set itself apart as a sustainable community. 

“That enterprise was a symbol of the people that had migrated here from the other side of the world forging out a new life in a new land,” Gary said.

“170 years later we have another opportunity to embrace renewable energy and lead the way for other communities to follow.

We're hopeful that the modifications will be improved and the Collector Wind Farm can go ahead using the most up to date turbine technology to produce the maximum renewable energy.

 The meeting was covered in the Goulburn Post.

We also put out a media release about it.

Gary Poile's Presentation to the PAC Meeting at the Collector Memorial Hall 29/06/16.

Good Evening Commissioners.

I was here almost three years ago to urge you to approve the Collector Windfarm Project and I return today to urge you to approve the proposed modifications. 

Before I do that, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself, little bit about the history of Collector and a little bit about what I think the future of Collector will be like.

Firstly, I have lived most of my life here and have five generations of my ancestors buried in our local cemeteries. I have a long and strong connection with the local community and as a volunteer have committed much of my working life to community outcomes.  I served as Captain of the Collector Bushfire Brigade for 8 years, Local SES Controller for 15 years, I have been on the executive committee that manages this hall for 35 years and have continuously served as President, Secretary or Treasurer, and for the last 6 years I have been the President of the Collector Village Pumpkin Festival. 

My level of engagement with this community gives me a pretty good understanding of how it feels about the windfarm.  And I understand that there is a group of people that strongly oppose it but I also know that a similar size group are in strong support. I also know there is a far greater group that are not really concerned either way.   Residents of Collector are far more concerned about issues such as Broadband Services, public transport and the poor state of services provided by our respective local councils. 

It was great to hear a presentation on behalf of the Collector Historical Society here today.  Unfortunately the presenter failed to mention a most important chapter in local history that started around 1847 with the construction of a wind mill on what is now known as Mill Hill.  This mill was used to turn grain into flour for over 50 years and operated into the early part of the 20th century.  It would have been an imposing structure, standing proudly in the centre of our village and visible for miles around.  It was more than just a flour mill, it was a symbol that the people that had migrated here from the other side of the world were forging out a new life in a new land.  Those of you with an interest in history would be aware of how history has a happy knack of repeating itself.  When you think about it, during the 19th century our community was what we would now refer to as a sustainable village.  It was carbon neutral, it was “off the grid” (there was just no grid to be on!) and we used wind energy to power our industry. 

Then the 20th century came along and with it the fossil fuel revolution.  Coal and oil took over from the organic sources of energy and for the next 100 years our world has been in the grip of a frenzy to exploit this amazingly convenient source of energy. 

But now as the 21st century rolls around we start to realise the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  In our haste and greed to exploit the planet’s fossil fuel reserves we have created dangerous global warming, the consequences of which will far out way the benefits we have gained.  We have reached the breaking point.  As President Obama of the United States of America recently said; “We are the first generation to be affected by Global Warming and will be the last generation that can do anything about it”.

What may be in our future here today will soon be written in the history books of tomorrow.   It is not too late to write a positive history.  A story that tells how the small community of Collector was among the first in Australia to embrace a sustainable future.  That we debated the pros and cons and we expressed our views for and against openly and publically and eventually we embraced renewable energy and we lead the way for other communities to follow.  

Commissioners, the modifications that have been proposed by the proponent will make the Collector Windfarm better.  They will make it more efficient by producing more clean energy without increasing the number of turbines.  The modifications will reduce the impact on native flora and fauna, improve traffic flow and set up a realistic method of monitoring noise levels. 

We are talking about Worlds Best Practise.  Ratch has been criticised in the past for not consulting properly yet here they demonstrate that they have listened, they have heard and they are acting.  This approach needs to be encouraged by Government not punished.

So I ask you to approve these modifications for the sake of this country to help us reduce our emissions, for the sake of this state that must convert to renewable energy sources and for the sake of this community so that history may judge us as a progressive community that cared about the generations to come. 


Credit: David Clarke,

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