An information and discussion session for the proposed offshore wind turbine farm on the coast of the Illawarra has caused division in the community.

The discussion panel and Town Hall meeting, led by MP Alison Byrnes, was held last week at the Hope Theatre at UOW.

Wollongong resident, Mr Mark Bonds has expressed his concerns surrounding the wind turbines.

“If wind turbines as a solution for the Illawarra is part of our contribution to reduce the impact of climate change, then I’m an advocate for it,” Mr Bonds said.

“The trouble is that I’m struggling with is the visual impact on the city.”

The discussion panel was comprised of five individuals: Ty Christopher, Ellen Couch, Dr Jodi Edwards, Yael Stone, and Arthur Rorris.

Local residents shared discourse about the proposed offshore wind turbines during a Q&A session which followed the event.

The offshore wind turbines are proposed off the Wollongong coast, to be located 10km from the shore, built more than 70 metres into the ocean, and cover 1461 square kilometres.

The electricity transmitted from the turbines is estimated to have the capacity to power over 3.4 million homes in NSW.

Most of the community division over the proposal derives from the visual impacts on the coast and how this will affect homeowners and tourism. During the discussion panel, Ms Byrnes said that the turbines will have the reverse effect, and in turn bring tourism into the Illawarra.

Wollongong resident, John Price, stated that the evening answered many questions but that he still carries some concerns.

“There was some good information made available,” Mr Price said.

“What I’m still worried about is how this will affect the fishing industry.”

About 90 per cent of the carbon emission in the Illawarra comes from the Wollongong CBD, Port Kembla steelworks and businesses in general. The offshore wind farms are supposedly capable of minimising that.

The project promises 3,000 job opportunities during construction and a further 300 jobs during the 30-year life of the turbines.

Local residents express their opinions on The Community Town Hall meeting on offshore wind farming in the Illawarra.
Annie Marlow and Sharon Callighan have expressed their opinions, mostly in favour of the turbines at the meeting.