Old Dunstan Road on the Lammermoor Range could be registered for protection under the Historic Places Act following public concerns raised during the hearing for Meridian Energy’s proposed Project Hayes wind farm.
Historic Places Trust Central Otago chairman Graye Shattky told the panel hearing the wind farm application that publicity about proposed upgrades to the old gold-mining road had highlighted the omission of the road from any district or regional plan protecting it.
The number of people opposed to altering Old Dunstan Road for the wind farm had made the trust realise how important it was, and there was now some urgency to protect it, Mr Shattky said.
The Historic Places Trust was now considering registering Old Dunstan Road, used by miners to travel to the Dunstan goldfields near Clyde in the 1860s, as a historic place under the Historic Places Act, senior heritage policy adviser Robert McClean said. If it was registered under the Act then protection under the Central Otago district plan would probably follow, he said.
This could restrict changes to the road or grading, which was not now subject to any controls.
“˜”˜Piecemeal upgrading” was a threat to the heritage values of the road and should be managed through a conservation plan, Mr McClean said.
The trust is against widening and vertical cuts which would be made to the road during construction of the wind farm. It also wants a heritage study to be done of the road if consent for the wind farm is granted, and a buffer zone between the wind farm and Old Dunstan Road.
Other submissions heard against the proposal yesterday included the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust, which is concerned by the impact the wind farm would have on those travelling on Old Dunstan Road, particularly during annual cavalcades.
More landowners near the wind farm have also spoken out against the proposal. Styx run lessee Rob Lawrence said the proposal had been “˜”˜virtually dumped on neighbours”, with insufficient information or time to address the proposal.
By Pam Jones
12 June 2007
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