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Turbine fight could resume; Objectors considering wind farm site appeal  

Objectors to the granting of consents for TrustPower’s wind farm at Kaiwera are to meet to decide if they will lodge an objection next week

Consent was given to TrustPower on Monday for its application to establish 83 wind turbines on its Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm site.

TrustPower the country’s fifth-largest power generator, plans to spend $380 million on the project.

In all, there would be up to 83 wind turbines, able to generate 240MW at the site.

Ferndale resident Trevor Newton who is part of a group who made submissions against the project said while he was pleased for the property owners who were to get turbines on their land, he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the granting of the consent.

“The Resource Management Act is all about money, those who have flash lawyers get their way,” Mr Newton said.

He criticised TrustPower’s community consultation saying it “wasn’t brilliant at all”.

Mr Newton said the objectors meeting was planned for Tuesday.

Fellow project objector Henry McFadzien said: “We are going to have to make some big decisions in a veery short time about whether we want to appeal or not.

“There are several things we are not sure about which we need to find out about,” he said.

“We had been led to believe the start up time would have been almost immediate, and they have overridden the district plan and extended it out to 10 years.

“We wonder what is behind this, but we know wind farms are currently quite a contentious issue, with two in court at the moment.

“Rural people need to ask themselves whether they want to see a prolific number of these 9Turbines) around their areas.

“The skyline is going to be very altered in areas, which is not where the power demand is.

“People in the Waikana Valley area are very disappointed with the result.

“They felt there was room on the skyline to take the turbines away from them and out of their face.”

However, district resident Lester Dickie who will have a numbeer of turbines built on his farm, said he was “certainly” happy with the result and was not just waiting to see if any objection were lodged during the 15 working day appeal time fram.

Mr Dickie said while he acknowledged there were visual concerns and there would be more traffic using the district’s roads in the short term, he believed the long term benefits would far outweigh these concerns.

Mr Dickie said the benefits nationally also needed to be acknowledged, particularly in the light of the electricity shortages currently being experienced.

“The lakes are at an all time low,” Mr Dickie said.

Weighty document

In a 162-page determination, the numerous aspects of the decision highlighted the Gore District COuncil and Environment Southland’s expectations of TrustPower as they build, operated and maintained the site.

From November 8, last year when the applications were lodged by TrustPower, to the December 17 closing date for submissions, through to the hearing held over eight days from March 31 to April 10, it has been a waiting game for all.

Traffic noise, decrease in land value, increased road traffic, the height and the visual dominance of the wind turbines formed some of the arguments put forward by residents and businesses against the wind farm proposal.

Several specific conditions of the consent were included in the report.

Amongst these were that the maximum installed generation capacity of the Kaiwera Downs Wind farm would not exceed 240MW, and that the maximum number of turbines would not exceed 83.

The applicant or any submitter has a right of appeal against the whole or any part of this decision within 15 working days of the decision being released.

Newslink

12 June 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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