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Winds of discontent  

Goats, roads, wind and lots of hot air will be on the agenda at the next Makara/Ohariu Community Board meeting.

Goats are running rampant and out of control around Makara, the Meridian wind farm is rolling on, and now the wheels have been put in motion for another wind farm, this one in Ohariu valley and requiring a ‘temporary’ road to be built.

First the goats… A hazard on the road, roaming the cemetery at will and “absolutely out of control,” says board member Craig Shepherd. “I’m told there’s hundreds and possibly thousands of them. “They’re all through the cemetery, they’re on the roads, they’re just making life a misery for everyone. “They’re a road hazard as well and it seems impossible for the Regional Council and the Wellington City Council to get anything done. “They have to get access to private land but the general consensus from land owners is let’s get rid of them, so I don’t see that as holding up the works. “I think its procrastination, the will is certainly there in the community.”

If they survive the goats may have to put up with a lot more noise once Meridian’s ‘Project Westwind’ reaches fruition.

“Obviously there are a lot of people who didn’t want the wind farm,” says Mr Shepherd, “but its happening and so we go forward and work together as much as is possible.

“It’s been decided in the courts so it’s game over, move on.”

It’s only the beginning, however, for the newly proposed Windcorp wind farm in Ohariu. Meridian Energy has confirmed plans for a 31-turbine wind farm in the Ohariu Valley.

Meridian is working with Windcorp on the project. Windcorp was formed six years ago by five farmers who own 4000 hectares of blustery coast between Makara and Titahi Bay.

The proposed ‘Mill Creek’ turbines will be 111 metres high, the same as the Makara project, and are projected to generate power for 35,000 homes. Windcorp mailed an outline of its proposal to residents last week, and residents held meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights (so all could attend) in local woolsheds to hear the details and discuss the implications.

“There was some pretty heated debate and I think a lot more information needs to come out before the locals can make an informed comment, says Mr Shepherd.

“There’s a few neighbours who would be affected by proposed road widening, and that’s put the cat amongst the pigeons.”

About 20 households could be affected by road widening, construction traffic and possible visual effects, he says.

An existing road running from the tip end of Porirua to the northern end of Ohariu Rd, a quite country lane, will need to be transformed into a ‘temporary motorway’ to transport the massive loads of equipment.

“And so there are concerns among locals that the road could become permanent.”

Under the current hard-won resource consents for Meridian’s Makara project the Makara route cannot be used for the Windcorp project.

The next Makara Community Board meeting will be Feb 21 at the Ohariu Hall, 550 Ohariu Valley Road.

Northern Courier

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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