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Wind farm spawns battle

Waverley property and forestry millionaire Roger Dickie has declared war on Allco Wind Energy which plans to erect New Zealand’s tallest turbine towers next to his coastal subdivision.

He says operational noise and visual landscape pollution from the 150m-high towers will effectively kill key parts of his high-cost land development plans and deny him $6 million in income.

Mr Dickie has hired heavyweight environmental lawyers Kensington Swan to fight Allco’s resource consent bid to the South Taranaki District Council.

“I’ll fight them all the way. There’s so much at stake here I don’t care what it costs me,” he says.

Submissions on the Allco application close at 4pm on Friday.

Mr Dickie wants locals to support his stand. He began his public protest at the Waverley Show yesterday with an information display and submission forms.

“I need to stir this up because the locals don’t seem to realise what’s happening. This is a big Australian investment company which has picked on the Waverley coast because it’s flat and close to the national grid. They will take all their profits offshore and only leave behind two operational staff.

“The towers need to be high because of the low wind speed at the beach. They could put their turbines in the hills inland, but that would cost more and require a much longer transmission link.”

Some see the scenario as a scrap between Waverley’s two biggest names – Mr Dickie and farmer businessman Warwick Lupton, on whose land half the wind farm will be built.

But Mr Dickie says: “It’s not between me and Warwick. He’s only trying to make a dollar. This is between the people and Allco.”

Roger Dickie NZ Ltd bought the land after the Waipipi ironsand mining ceased and has transformed it into dairying pasture. He plans to be milking 1200 cows there from next spring.

He is developing (under a consent issued by the STDC) a 170-lot small-block wilderness-style subdivision. The 46-lot stage one earthworks have started.

“Stage four is the prime elevated land with magnificent 360-degree views. I won’t be able to proceed with that because it’s 2km inside Allco’s 40 decibel noise zone. The loss of view is not the main issue, although our marketing plan promises `you won’t see another building from your property’. That’s useless now.”

Mr Dickie says he was there first and demands the right to go about his business without interference from outside his boundaries.

“If the STDC seriously considers consenting this project it will make a mockery of their so-called coastal protection zone, which is supposed to be protecting special landscape features.

“We want commonsense to prevail. Allco can do what they like on their side of the fence as long as it doesn’t affect what I want to do.”

By Richard Woodd

Taranaki Daily News


14 November 2007