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Architect cross-examined over turbines’ impact on heritage route  

No matter what happens to Old Dunstan Rd during the construction of Project Hayes it will still be a historic goldfields route, the Environment Court was told yesterday.

Landscape architect Peter Rough spent a second day being cross-examined by individual appellants, who have strong concerns about the effects of wind turbines on the heritage landscape.

Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust immediate-past president Dr Mike Floate asked Mr Rough how it would be for someone that had read about the goldfields trail along Old Dunstan Rd, and wanted to experience some of it.

Mr Rough replied that it was difficult to answer because no one was exactly sure how the landscape was in the gold mining days.

“But we have acknowledged there would be considerable change as the construction (Project Hayes) takes place over the five-year period,” he said.

Meridian had offered to rip up the tar-seal and return a section of the road from Middlemarch to Paerau back to shingle once construction was complete, in keeping with the original character of the heritage trail.

“Although someone might be going to experience the route of the goldminers, they might still have a positive attitude towards the wind farm and they will still be travelling an historic route,” Mr Rough said.

The road has been used for 12 of the past 16 years as a popular route by those involved in the annual Cavalcade on horseback and in carriages.

Old Dunstan Rd is also in the process of being officially registered by the Historic Places Trust, and a heritage consultant is assessing its status.

Mr Floate’s opinion of the turbines in the heritage landscape was “incongruous”, regardless of whether the construction was good or bad.

“Wouldn’t you agree most people would view them this way?” he asked Mr Rough.

Expert witnesses have admitted there was a possibility the wind farm would be able to be seen from as far away as Saddle Hill, near Mosgiel, with at least 120 of the turbines prominent on the Lammermoor Range ridge-line.

* Who appeared yesterday: Individual appellants cross-examining expert witnesses for Meridian Energy
* Who’s appearing next:Environment Court sits for a half day today with further cross-examination of a second landscape architect Stephen Brown.
* Site Location: Lammermoor Range, Paerau-Styx Valley, Maniototo
* Size: 176 wind trubines across 92 square kilometres
* Capacity: 630 MW (263,000 homes annually).
* Height: 160-m high turbines
* Cost: $2 billion

By Aimee Wilson

The Southland Times

23 May 2008

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

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