Paerau-styx farmers are not just opposed to having a windfarm in their backyard, they are concerned Meridian still wants to make it bigger than it already is.
Eric Laurenson told the Environment Court yesterday that when he was offered mitigation by Meridian to lessen the visibility, he suggested moving some of the turbines away from his home, but the company had other ideas.
“They said if they could get the land behind the windfarm site they would put them there as well,” he said.
Meridian originally had plans for an additional 113 wind turbines in a second stage of the project, which was revealed by Contact Energy at the original consent hearing last year. However, the company’s lawyer Andrew Beatson explained, when approached at the hearing in Cromwell, stage two was “basically a non-starter” because the site in question was an outstanding landscape in the Dunedin District Plan and also it would be a non-complying activity.
He said there was basically no point pursuing it any further because of the district plan provisions.
Represented by Dunedin lawyer Neville Marquet, the Laurensons, along with farmers Ian and Sarah Manson, say they will be most affected by the windfarm.
Plans had divided what was once a tight-knit community, with farmers on the other side of the valley – whose land the turbines will be built on – being compensated by Meridian. despite their not having to to look at them.
Mr Laurenson said he would see the full length of the windfarm, “perhaps not the depth of it,” and had experienced a “rough encounter” with Meridian over mitigation.
Mr Manson said the company offered to plant trees around his house but that would just block their view of the Lammermoors.
“There is no doubt we can’t get away from it. The noise is another thing we are concerned about, especially talking to those that live close to them, and who were told it would not be a problem,” he said.
“Who really wants to put up with a visual pollution like that and then noise as well?” he added.
The hearing has now adjourned for two months.
29 May 2008
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