The Save Central campaign to stop two large-scale windfarms transforming the landscape into an “industrial estate” will soon be going national.
Led by landscape artist Grahame Sydney, the Maniototo Environmental Society and Upland Landscape Protection Society joined forces in December to rally against the Project Hayes and Mahinerangi wind farms, and is now moving full steam ahead.
The group is just one of 11 Environment Court appellants meeting in Alexandra on January 28 for a pre-hearing to exchange evidence, before the three-week hearing in May and June.
Mr Sydney said the group was now “going beyond” the Mahinerangi and Project Hayes appeals, but the exact details were still under wraps.
“We are just doing some behind the scenes work and finalising things with the lawyer,” he said.
Both Hayes and Mahinerangi wind farms would be the beginning of an “almost unstoppable” transformation of the Central Otago landscape, into an industrial estate, he said.
Other sites earmarked for wind farm development in the area included Rough Ridge and the Rock and Pillar Range – also both in the Maniototo, the Old Man Range, and the Carrick and Cairnmuir Ranges.
The group is trying to raise up to $150,000 for each hearing, with Mahinerangi set down for April 14 and Project Hayes down for May 19 to June 6. Environment Court case manager Chris Jordan confirmed all 11 appellants were proceeding to the first stage of the Project Hayes prehearing at the end of the month.
As well as the two environmental groups, they include: Contact Energy, wanting a condition of consents guaranteeing Otago’s transmission lines can handle the capacity, several Paerau landowners, and Meridian Energy itself.
Project Hayes’ $1.5 billion wind farm near Ranfurly was consented in November last year.
Trustpower’s $400 million Mahinerangi wind farm near Dunedin was consented a month earlier.
By Aimee Wilson
19 January 2008
Save Central: savecentral.org
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