Having lost the first round, Peter Doherty sees the Environment Court as the next arena for opponents of the Mahinerangi wind farm.
Mr Doherty (47), a fourth generation Lee Stream farmer, says he is extremely disappointed with the decision to grant TrustPower consents to build a 200MW wind farm at Mahinerangi.
‘‘It disappoints me but does not totally surprise me, especially when it was going to only go in the Clutha district,’’ he said.
Mr Doherty, who owns a 430ha farm at Lee Stream and is a partner in two other farms in the area, says the visual pollution of a wind farm will put a black mark on the district.
He said going to the Environment Court for an appeal was an option, but it was an expensive path to go down, and he did not have the financial resources or the number of experts TrustPower had to call on.
Not only was he upset about the visual pollution, but also about how truck movements during construction would impact on the community.
‘‘We’ve already seen it with all the trucks for the Deep Stream project. The insurance companies only give you two free windscreens a year.’’
He felt as soon as the application was for land only in the Clutha District Council region, the proposal had a good chance of getting approval.
‘‘It would have been a different outcome if the land was Dunedin City Council’s. The land right beside it was ruled outstanding natural landscape by the Dunedin City Council but Clutha doesn’t have any outstanding natural landscape.’’
Most people in Clutha district would not even know the proposed wind farm site was in their district, he said. ‘‘They Clutha District Council just want to get industry into the area. But that area should be in the Dunedin city district.’’
He described TrustPower consultation as a token effort.
‘‘They came and saw me and I told them I had some concerns and they would get back to me. I’m still waiting.’’
The wind farm would not only scar the landscape but also would bring financial uncertainty.
‘‘They tried to sell a farm round here last year and no-one wanted to touch it. They didn’t get one tender.’’
By Steve Hepburn
1 October 2007
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