The Gore District Council-Environment Southland joint resource consent hearing for TrustPower’s $380 million wind farm, east of Mataura officially closed yesterday.
The hearing was adjourned last Thursday, following eight days of evidence in support of and against the project to give the hearing panel the chance to request further information should it need to.
Gore district planning consultant Keith Hovell said yesterday nothing more had been added to the evidence presented at the hearing and it was officially closed yesterday afternoon. The hearing panel would deliver its decision as soon as practicable, he said.
Given the volume and complexity of evidence, a decision was likely to take months, as was the case with the Mahinerangi wind farm decision which took four months.
Mr Hovell said a suppression order relating to an offer made by TrustPower to some landowners near the wind farm remained in force.
Letters outlined the offer of compensation for any loss in value of their land were presented by some landowners in their evidence and many wanted the contents made public.
However, TrustPower counsel Christian Whata argued the offer was made on a confidential basis and that was how it should remain.
While some residents voiced their disgust at the offer when giving evidence, Mr Whata said he had no concerns with the contents of the letters.
They exemplified TrustPowers endeavours to directly meet residents’ concerns, he said.
Hearing panel chairman David Pullar agreed with Mr Whata. In a written decision enforcing the suppression order, Mr Pullar said the order was necessary to avoid unreasonable prejudice to the commercial position of TrustPower.
By Sonia Gerken
The Southland Times
19 April 2008
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