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Put the wind farm elsewhere

Submitters strongly oppose Kaiwera project

Opposing submitters of the proposed Kaiwera wind farm told TrustPower to take a hike and build their wind farm somewhere else at a hearing into the project.

The hearing into the proposed Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm continued this week with submitters voicing their concerns in front of the hearing panel made up of chairman David Pullar and Gore District councillors Cliff Bolger, Nicky Davis and Bret Highsted, on Tuesday.

Mataura resident Robin McGowan questioned the impartiality of the hearing panel, going as far as to write a letter outlining his concerns to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

“There will be winners and there will be losers in this decision. The law must not only be fair but it must be seen to be fair,” Mr McGowan said.

Those in the public gallery gave a resounding: “Hear, hear”, to the comments.

In all, 15 submitters spoke about their opposition to the wind farm.

On behalf of the Concerned Neighours of Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm group, spokesman Henry McFadzien said TrustPower want to “pillage and pollute our hills so the electricity can go to Auckland where houses are three times the value of ours”.

“Isn’t Auckland known as the city of sails?” he asked.

“They like building towers in Auckland. They could even make one glow at night and if there was one left over they could send it to Tauranga and put it on Mt Manganui,” Mr McFadzien said.

Meanwhild, Waikana residents Allan and Leeann Woodrow had major concerns about the possible flickering light effect made by the sun’s rays through the blades at the top of wind turbines.

In an effort to demonstrate the effect the flickering light would have, Mr Woodrow asked for the lights to be dimmed in the hearing room and shone a torch in the faces of the hearing panel members.

The experiment made those presend laugh but none-the-less his point was made.

“This flickering will last over our home and farm for two and a half to three hours a day,” he said.

Ferndale resident Brent Dickie TrustPower had not provided the exact location of each turbine.

He was also appalled by the lack of professionalism shown by TrustPower representatives who, without his permission, set up a noise monitor on his property while he were away on holiday.

“Is this not a breach of privacy or trust on their behalf?

“I can only request that they return and do the monitoring in a professional manner,” Mr Dickie said.

All submitters cited noise, traffic, road use, land values, dust, vegetation, turbine placement, and rural amenity values as reasons the panel should decline the consent.

Waikana resident Alec Moody presented the panel with an insight into how noise generated from the turbines would affect his stock.

“Wind makes stock very restless (and) noise does the same and while sock are moving around they are not putting on weight.

“This will have a major impact on our bottom line (because) slower growing animals cost us a lot more to grow,” he said.

Nithdale Station owner Andrew Tripp said the fact that Pukerau and Kaiwera were named by early Maori meant there was a lawful reason for the area to be protected under the Resource Management Act. The Maori named this are Pukerau meaning land of many hills, he said.

“TrustPower want to turn our land of many hills into land of many turbines.”

Proposed mitigation measures put forward by TrustPower were described as pathetic from submitters.

Alistair Murray said the visual intrusion of the turbines on affected landowners “million dollar” views of the Hokonui Hills would not be solved with a few trees and a barbecue area.

“Building a barbecue area on the south west side of the house is generally the coldest place of your house and why should you have to go to the back of your house in the cold and entertain people and not see any of your views?” Mr Murray said.

Kaiwera residents Warren and Wendy Blakely felt there was becoming a proliferation of wind farms in Southland.

“Will this be in Southland’s best interest? Not in our view,” Mr Blakely said.

Through out the day submitters gave reasons why consent for the wind farm should be declined.

Of all of the negative impacts foreseen if the wind farm eventuated, land values remained the biggest priority for submitters. Waikana resident Trevor Newton said TrustPower had described the impact of these wind turbines to be minor.

“To us they are catastrophic. The land at Fraser Rd is the realisation of a dream, the future of our children and grandchildren and we will defend it to the utmost.”

The public gallery again cried, “hear, hear.”

By Tuangane Matangi


10 April 2008