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Wind farms proposal spurs different response

Renewable Energy System Limited New Zealand (RES) held there first open day late last month in the bid to inform and gather information from residents towards the construction of the Puketiro Wind Farm.

On July 28 between 120 and 150 members of the public gathered at Whitby’s The Anchor Church to partake in the Puketiro Farm Open Day. RES presented attendees an insight on the windfarm’s developments, location, potential size and details about the wind turbines. In addition, RES displayed preliminary visual images – of what the windfarm would look like – as well as information on environmental studies.

According to RES spokesman Christ Drayton, the open day had a full spectrum of response’s some showing full support and others against.

“We have considered what everyone has said, we may not agree with all of it and adopt it into our plan, but for those people that had sensible reasonable ideas we will be looking at adopting there ideas into our plan,” Mr Drayton said. “We will be holding a second public day in September to keep everyone informed on the process,” he said.

The decision to establish a windfarm in Puketiro Forest was made, after lengthy public consultations, in 2005 by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. The wind farm will be located on GWRC and private land and lying within Porirua City and Upper Hutt City Council boundary. The roles of PCC and UHCC are very different from that of a landowner as both Councils have statutory responsibility to consider the proposal under the provisions of the RMA which is ultimately reviewable by the Environment Court.

According to Whitby resident Jim Dearsly, he is not against the establishment of the wind power describing it as a clean and renewable source of energy. That said he notes the affects the windfarm will have on the environment and whether it would benefit the country nationally as a good reasons why the company should not be rushing into ad hoc decisions.

“Our visual environment is something we should treasure and these wind turbines will pollute it 100 times more than building houses on ridges, I suggest a rethink of the whole proposal is required and certainly a much deeper investigation of the adverse effects,” Mr Dearsly said.

“We wouldn’t want to spoil Pauatahanui; we need to make sure everything is done right. It’s not good enough just getting a resource consent because it doesn’t look at the whole picture,” he said.

At present RES are yet to confirm how many turbines are likely to be in each area. That said, RES has informed PCC they are likely to submit a resource consent application in February next year. The company will also need to apply for a resource consent from Greater Wellington Regional Council.

By Alexia Kainuku

Northern Courier