A wind farm planned for above the Pauatahanui Inlet in Porirua might be seen from as far away as Island Bay and Waikanae.
A document leaked to The Dominion Post shows that the 130-metre high turbines would be visible from areas of Wellington City, the Hutt Valley, beyond Upper Hutt and as far north as Waikanae.
Prepared by environmental planners Boffa Miskell, the theoretical visibility plans show that as many as 40 of the up to 50 three-megawatt turbines may be visible from some areas.
Local opponents of the $50 million wind farm have been labelled Nimbys (not in my back yard) by some, but Preserve Pauatahanui spokeswoman Diane Strugnell said the leaked information shows that all Wellingtonians should be concerned.
“There is a slow growing awareness that this wind farm is going to be something big,” she said.
“People are realising that if it goes ahead then they will never see the hills the way they are supposed to be seen.”
Greater Wellington regional council received 1300 submissions on the wind farm proposal, with 93 per cent in support.
“Most people didn’t think it would affect them … but I am sure they didn’t think the impact would be as big as this,” Mrs Strugnell said.
Greater Wellington regional council tendered development rights for the Puketiro wind farm, on hills between Porirua and Hutt Valley, to British company Res New Zealand. The leaked report was prepared for Res.
Though some turbines would go on council land – including Battle Hill Regional Park – most would go on private land.
Res spokesman Chris Drayton said the visibility plan was the first step in producing lifelike images that would show what people could see from up to 30 areas.
“That could be anything from a tip of a blade, or people who are closer may see full structures,” he said.
Res would be launching a liaison group in the next two weeks in an effort to improve the flow of information to resident and action groups.
Once the final layout of the wind farm is decided – including the type of turbines to be used and their final positions on the ridgeline – it would be made public.
Mr Drayton said final plans are about six weeks behind schedule but would not commit to a date when they would be released.
By Dave Burgess
The Dominion Post
26 November 2007
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