Environmental concerns are at the forefront of a society formed to oppose the Turitea wind farm. Supporters met last night to prepare the battleground.
An incorporated society has been formed to “put the council on notice” over the proposed Turitea wind farm.
More than 60 people attended a meeting of the newly formed Friends of the Turitea Reserve Society Inc at the Turitea Gun Club last night.
The society is opposed to the Turitea wind farm and its legal representatives will be writing to the council in the next few days to outline its position, chairman Adrian Cookson said.
“And if necessary, litigation is possible.”
The society’s main purpose is to protect the Turitea Reserve from any development on it or its boundaries that has the effect of compromising its environment and natural resources.
He said the group represents a range of opinions. Some oppose the wind farm because they fear destruction of native bush.
Others are worried about health implications for those who would live near the turbines, “wherever they (the turbines) might be who knows where they will be”?
People at the meeting also expressed concerns about various aspects of the council’s consultation process, which many called unfair and undemocratic.
One of the responsibilities of the society is to get the facts out there so people understand, Dr Cookson said.
“The majority of people who made submissions said they didn’t have enough information.”
The council has experts who should have given the community this information, he said. He had asked the council for ecological and landscape-impact reports and a report on water quality, but was unsuccessful, Dr Cookson said.
“I have gone to the Ombudsman in Wellington to mediate so the documents are made available to the community …We are not children. There are intelligent people in this city and it is within their capabilities to make decisions.”
Dr Cookson said he would be happy for the wind farm decision to be deferred so it could be made an election issue. In the future, the society might look to enhance the quality of the reserve without putting in an “industrial park”.
The amount the council has spent on lawyers for the wind farm proposal could have funded intensive pest management in the reserve for a year and the $1.5 million spent on the clocktower could have funded an intensive pest control project for years, he said.
By Helen Harvey
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