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Turitea man fears he'll have to go

A Turitea man says he will be forced from his home because Mighty River Power told him noise from wind turbines in the reserve will make his house uninhabitable.

Mark Nicholls has been living in his slice of paradise for 10 years. He has 20 hectares of native bush, 13ha of pasture, which he farms, and a view to die for. It is so private that he can bathe on his veranda.

He doesn’t want to move, he said.

“It’s hard to achieve what I have here on my budget.”

He first heard the news 12 months ago that four wind turbines from the proposed Mighty River Power/Palmerston North City Council wind farm would be 500m from his boundary.

The state-owned power company’s representatives told him the noise from the turbines would make his house uninhabitable, he said.

In city council documents on the wind farm, it said that at 500m from a turbine, the accepted standard of noise should be between 40 and 50 decibels.

The report, presented at the infrastructural well-being committee on October 18, said 40 decibels is equivalent to that of a public library and a loud radio would be 70 decibels. An Ashhurst family had to leave their house last year because noise and vibration from the Te Apiti wind farm made it impossible for them to stay.

Mr Nicholls said his life has been on hold for a year and he is angry that an SOE (Mighty River) and a city council (he lives in the Tararua district) can destroy his idyllic rural paradise.

“Mighty River Power has made a lot of noise that in the fullness of time they will discuss a relocation package. This has been going on for 12 months.”

He has asked the energy company what is happening, because he wants to get on with his life.

“(They say) talks will take place in due course when the final location of the turbines has been established,” he said.

“When you are told you can’t live in your property, it changes your life. It’s being told your life is going to change, but there is no qualification, no time frame.

“I don’t know where I’m going to be in six months’ time, one year’s time. I can’t plan.

“I feel that it’s frustrating that one’s life can be put on hold, not just mine, but my family’s as well.”

Mr Nicholls has a map of indicative sites for the turbines, but he wouldn’t show the Manawatu Standard because of a confidentiality agreement.

By Helen Harvey