Financial and practical support is being drummed up in Central Otago to oppose the Project Hayes and Mahinerangi wind farm developments through appeals to the Environment Court.
The Upland Landscape Protection Society (ULPS) and Maniototo Environmental Society (MES) held a meeting in Alexandra last night to garner support for appeals against the developments, which have received resource consent.
About 35 people were welcomed to the meeting by Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney, who said the push to industrialise the landscapes of the district must be stopped.
ULPS spokesman Dr Richard Reeve said a combined ‘‘Save Central’’ campaign for both appeals would be driven by the societies until initial court dates in April and May next year.
With each appeal expected to cost at least $80,000, people were being encouraged to give money and pledge practical support to a trust fund set up through a website.
‘‘We need to fight hard because the two wind farm companies are moving very quickly. It’s a David-and-Goliath battle, and we just have the generosity of individuals that find this obscenity so uninspiring that they want to throw their money at it,’’ Dr Reeve said.
Trust fund money would be divided proportionally to each appeal, based on the number of proposed wind turbines for each development, with Project Hayes expected to comprise 176 and Mahinerangi up to 100.
Dr Reeve said the proposals would ‘‘take out the soul’’ of Central Otago if allowed, and would set a dangerous precedent for further windfarm development proposals in the area.
He would not disclose the amount of money already generated for the appeals, but said people had also become support parties to each appeal submission, and others had until December 22 to do so.
The societies wanted to hear ideas for raising money, and hoped to afford top-level representation in court.
By Rosie Manins
5 December 2007
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