A “hardy annual” argument emerged during a meeting yesterday to discuss the Dunedin City Council’s submission on TrustPower’s Mahinerangi wind farm proposal the least contentious heavy traffic route across the Taieri Plain.
For at least seven years, the council has been divided over whether the main route should be State Highway 87, which runs through the middle of Mosgiel, or a road which bypasses the town.
The issue has resurfaced with Meridian Energy and TrustPower announcing plans for wind farms northwest of Outram. Both say the main route for construction traffic including the 2700 over-length and over-weight trucks needed to transport wind turbine components would be from Dunedin, across the Taieri Plain to Outram and onwards via State Highway 87.
Meridian’s preferred route across the plain is Riccarton Rd, while TrustPower has said it is still looking at options.
At a special planning and environment committee meeting yesterday, the council decided to lodge a neutral submission on TrustPower’s resource consent application.
But a majority of councillors felt the submission should strongly state that construction traffic should use state highways or arterial routes wherever possible, and agree to meet the cost of upgrading lesser roads if it chose to use them.
That would mean the first option for wind farm trucks would be through Mosgiel via Gordon Rd.
Neither TrustPower nor Meridian should dictate traffic routes to the council, Cr Fliss Butcher said. The council had consulted “ad nauseum” on heavy traffic routes and had concluded State Highway 87 should stay on Gordon Rd, she said.
It was doubtful roads other than the highway could bear the weight of very heavy trucks, Cr Lee Vandervis said.
Cr Maurice Prendergast supported the largest trucks using Gordon Rd providing they travelled “slowly and at night”.
Cr Syd Brown said he was concerned about trucks travelling through a populated area when alternatives routes through rural areas were available. TrustPower was investigating using Gladfield Rd and that might be a better route, he said.
Councillors’ other main concern was the potential fire risk during construction on land adjoining the council’s catchment reserve. As part of the consent process, Trust-Power would have to provide traffic-management and firemanagement plans, the committee was told.
By Allison Rudd
22 February 2007
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