The New Zealand Historic Places Trust has withdrawn its opposition to a huge Otago wind farm, saying it lacks the funding to fight every battle.
The Crown entity had an interest in two Environment Court appeals against Meridian Energy’s Project Hayes proposal, a 176-turbine wind farm to be built 30km south of Ranfurly. Six weeks before the hearing was to start, the trust pulled out, outraging Central Otago branch members.
Trust chief executive Bruce Chapman said the manner in which the trust prepared and presented its submission was an internal matter, and not one for review through the media.
He said the trust’s limited resources meant it must focus on particular heritage places. ‘‘This requires careful prioritisation, and an understanding that we may not meet every expectation,’’ he said.
Ministry for Culture and Heritage spokeswoman Shona Geary said it did not direct the trust to negotiate with Meridian.
The wind-farm proposal will affect the Old Dunstan Road, a trail over four mountain ranges established by goldminers in the 1860s to link Dunedin and the Dunstan goldfield at Clyde.
The trust says its major concerns have been met by Meridian but the agreed measures have yet to be made public.
Chapman said that ultimate protection of the road lay with the Central Otago District Council.
The withdrawal and closeddoor talks with Meridian have upset Graye Shattky, the trust’s former Central Otago branch committee chairman. ‘‘My view as a member of the trust is it’s failing to carry out its role of preserving that heritage experience,’’ he said.
The Environment Court appeal hearing into Project Hayes will start in Cromwell on Monday.
14 May 2008
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