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Farmers mum on wind farm  

Eastern Southland farmers whose land TrustPower is eying up for a wind farm were reluctant to speak about the proposed project yesterday because of confidentiality agreements.

TrustPower said earlier a site at Otaraia, about 15km south-east of Gore and between Mataura and Clinton, had been monitored for nine months and showed good potential for a wind farm.

Several farmers who own land being monitored said they could not comment because of confidentiality agreements.

One farmer said speaking out could affect negotiations with TrustPower. “In the next few weeks there will be a lot more coming out of the woodwork,” he said.

He added, “time would tell” whether there was support in the community for the proposal.

TrustPower said earlier the only people who would see the turbines were landowners on the site. However, one farmer said testing poles could be seen from the main road.

TrustPower spokesman Graeme Purches said as far as he was aware all agreements with landowners where the wind farm site would be located had been secured.

“However, there may be other land owners we are talking to about other extensions or transmission lines going over their property.”

He said the proposal had received general support and although passing motorists might see turbines from the road, it was a moot point whether they would be affected.

Monitoring on the site still had another three to four months to go and wider public consultation would take place about March, before resource consents were lodged.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the development stage was likely to benefit the Gore area with employment spin-offs, but he was unsure what the long-term benefits would be.

The proposal made sense, he said.

“It’s pretty well out of view so it’s not going to be visible to a lot of people. I’m sure it will go through the planning stage and we will be kept abreast of the process as it goes through.” He had not discussed the proposal with TrustPower but was aware talks had been held with council planning staff.

By Juliet Larkin
The Southland Times


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