Stop These Things
[excerpt] “I went past some time later when they were under construction and I was absolutely horrified to see the towers going up. They didn’t have their nacelles (hubs) or blades on at that stage but I thought ‘what have I done to these people.’”
Barber leans across the table. “The principal objector … I still remember his name … was passionate. He started to get to me a bit during the hearing because he was genuinely concerned. I heard later he has not been a well man … he sold his place near the wind turbines. He is very saddened and has never been the same again.
“And that adds to my grief, if you like, my sorrow at my involvement. And I repeat, ‘what did I do to these people?’ I wasn’t the only one but I was a contributing factor.”
When did Barber first start to have doubts?
“Before the hearing had even finished,” he says. “I didn’t articulate any of these views at the time because I’m a lawyer. My duty was to my client at the time and to properly and honestly inform VCAT … but there was a moment in the hearing, when I had an internal voice.
“During the hearing I got off my backside and drove right around to the other side of the bay. I looked back along Wilsons Promontory and I thought ‘oh no’. My instructions were to pursue this through, which we did. I followed through on that but I had personal misgivings which were reinforced later on.”
Barber names one of the objectors to the Toora wind farm.
“He was passionate and articulate. He and others took us to local waterfalls and I thought this is not farmland. It’s not national park but there were lovely rolling hills. Now the views up through the hinterlands…”
He stops talking, looks out through the windows. The room fills with silence. Read article