Palmerston North City Council’s noise specialist Nigel Lloyd opened his case to slash turbine numbers for the proposed Motorimu wind farm yesterday.
The joint hearing by commissioners was in its second day of overtime and looks set for a couple more.
There were 218 submitters on the proposal within the allowed time period, 91 of whom indicated they would like to speak on their submission.
Yesterday was the opening of the council’s presentation.
Mr Lloyd identified a number of turbines he estimated would contribute to a noise level right on the limits allowed for wind farms in New Zealand. His proposal was to remove 20 of the 127 turbines and he asked that continuous monitoring be carried out.
There was extensive discussion about how various wind speed and ambient noise conditions would change the impact of the turbines on residents.
Ultimately commissioner David McMahon noted there was often a discrepancy between the standards required by district plans and the community’s expectations.
Mr Lloyd said the original suggestion was to remove two turbines, the closest to homes. On further examination he saw this would likely make little difference as there was a “gallery” of 18 others that flanked those two and were also estimated to be on the noise limit.
“I have been precautionary, I will be the first to admit that. But based on what I know now, I stand by it,” he told the hearing.
Chairwoman Dinah Williams said his recommendations would give “a very good point for the applicant’s right of reply”.
Mr Lloyd said the applicants would have to provide clear evidence the turbines would conform to the noise limits.
Today the city council is addressing visual issues, traffic, ecology and planning.
Ms Williams hopes to hear from the council, Horizons Regional Council and a reply from Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd by tomorrow night.
The commissioners will view the proposed site before closing the hearing. A decision will be due within 15 working days.
By Nick Wilson
28 March 2007
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