By Helen Harvey
Palmerston North MP Steve Maharey has invited Conservation Minister Chris Carter to visit the Turitea Reserve to inspect the site of the proposed wind farm.
Mr Carter will have a look around and maybe give Palmerston North City Council some advice, Mr Maharey said.
The council, in partnership with Mighty River Power, is proposing to build a 60 turbine wind farm on the reserve and plans to use the revenue earned from the project to create an eco park.
Mr Maharey said the idea of the eco park is exciting and would be rich in tourism potential, but the jury was still out on whether a wind farm and an eco park could co exist.
“(but) It looks like we can’t have one without the other,” Mr Maharey said.
He said people have asked him whether there should be some sort of regulation of wind farms for issues such as how far they should be from houses, vibration and noise.
“I have asked (Energy Minister) David Parker and (Environment Minister) David Benson-Pope to consider this. I am waiting to hear back from them.” It is important to have alternate forms of renewable energy but Mr Maharey said he is hearing what people are saying about how many are planned.
“It will change the landscape for a long time.” Mr Parker, who was in the city for the opening of the Te Rere Hau wind farm, said he knows there are concerns locally about the number of wind farms and that no more than the fair share of the burden of environmental effect is borne by one community.
“Those are relevant concerns.” Mr Parker said he is from Otago which has “accommodated an enormous amount” of the country’s power production through the large hydro dams.
“So I agree the issue is a fair balance between regions,” Mr Parker said.
However he doesn’t agree with residents who have asked him for a moratorium on wind farms or that there should be guidelines put on wind farms. “Considerations such as what are appropriate distances from housing, what are the noise effects, what are the landscape effects are matters that must be considered under the Resource Management Act when people make applications to put in wind farms anyway.”
Some people have suggested that turbines should not be within 2km of a house, but that makes an assumption that is too close, he said.
“I’m not aware of there being concerns of health effects from being within 2 km look at the one (turbine) in Brooklyn it’s about 100 yards from houses.”
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