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CAMERON ENGLAND The Advertiser October 12th

How a mining firm says this winery upgrade is a blight on the Hills

THE mining company behind a controversial gold project next to the Bird in Hand Winery is trying to block the award-winning company’s $30 million expansion plans because they don’t fit the “desired character” of the region.

Terramin Australia, which wants to reopen the Bird in Hand gold mine at Woodside, has lodged an appeal in the Environment, Resources and Development Court to try to stop the winery development, which has been approved by the Adelaide Hills Council and the State Government.

The wine company’s communications executive, Chiara Marling, says the legal challenge makes a mockery of the mining company’s claims it wants to co-operate with the local community.

Ms Marling said that in representations to the council, Terramin had argued the “design and appearance” of the wine company’s proposal was “inappropriate for the region”, and its size and scale was at odds with the “character of rural areas’’.

A list of objections to the plans included the effect of the expansion on “visual amenity’’.

Terramin has been locked in a battle with many of its neighbours in the Woodside area, who say its underground gold mining proposal cannot safely coexist with wine, horticulture and other farming practices.

The opponents are concerned with the possible effects on the water table, increased truck movements and noise, among other issues.

Terramin disagrees, saying its modelling shows water can be safely managed, and that it has carried out significant works to reduce the visual impact including planting 40,000 native trees.

But the Adelaide mining company’s latest move has blindsided Bird in Hand, which has already received planning approval from the council and the State Commission Assessment Panel.

Terramin is now appealing the approval, which Ms Marling said flew in the face of the company’s vow to work with neighbouring businesses. “This isn’t the first time Terramin has opposed our plans to invest in our business,” she said. “It says it wants to work in harmony with the community, but its actions prove just the opposite.’’

The Bird in Hand Winery development involves a 40-seat restaurant, an art gallery, increased cellar door space, underground cellars, tasting rooms and landscaped gardens. It is expected to create up to 50 new permanent jobs.

Terramin refused to comment on its court action. “Like any council ratepayer we have rights, especially being the winery’s nearest neighbour. Terramin has faced a vociferous scare campaign from Bird in Hand Winery and this latest commentary exposes it yet again.” Terramin has estimated its $34 million mine, which is currently seeking approval, would employ 140 people directly for its five-year life.