Prominent Otago artist Grahame Sydney says his involvement in a campaign to stop Meridian Energy’s Central Otago windfarm has meant he has lost about six months of work.
In Blenheim for last night’s opening of his Antarctica Returning exhibition, Mr Sydney said spearheading the fundraising campaign to pay for first-rate lawyers for the Environment Court hearing had taken his focus from his work.
However, the man known for his Otago landscape paintings said he had no regrets, as stopping Project Hayes was something he felt passionate about and was determined to see through.
State-owned Meridian Energy’s $1.5 billion windfarm proposal will see up to 176 wind turbines on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago.
Appeals are before the Environment Court and Mr Sydney said he thought the case against the project was strong and he expected the windfarm’s consent to be overturned, under terms in the Resource Management Act covering development in outstanding natural landscapes.
He expects the case to go to the High Court.
“It’s a bad playing field as everything depends on money. You need to have good lawyers and they cost a lot of money, and Meridian is prepared to spend as much as it takes in the hope that little people like us will just disappear, that we will be crushed and dissolved,” he said.
As for TrustPower’s $280 million plan to build six hydro power stations on the Wairau River, he said he did not know much about it, although he said decisions such as these and Meridian Energy’s were too short-sighted.
“I can’t speak with any real authority but it (the Wairau hydro scheme) sounds like another really dreadful assault on the things we should be treasuring and not trying to turn into economic advantages,” he said.
Grahame Sydney’s exhibition of mainly photographs taken from two trips to Antarctica is at The Diversion Gallery at Grove Mill Winery.
The Marlborough Express
4 June 2008
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