Plan Change 7 continues to gather momentum, Porirua City council receiving a further 20 submissions concerning wind farms before the consultation period closed on June 6.
107 submissions were made in December last year from people, groups and organisations, citing why they were in favour or against the construction of windfarms within Porirua. The proposed Puketiro development – which chould see 50 turbines erected on the hills above Pauatahanui – has been the catalyst behind PCC’s desire to see a change in their District Plan.
Since these submissions were made public, further comment has been asked for, giving the opportunity to reply to issues or arguments made by original submitters. Council’s manager of environmental policy Matt Trlin says all up they could be dealing with over 1500 different points raised.
“It’s certainly a topic that has a strong interest in the local community – not just those close to where they [windfarms] could go up, but in other, residential areas of Porirua as well.”
Mr Trlin says that “broadly”, most submitters were in favour of the plan change but a few specific issues (such as the distance between turbines and houses, and whether wind farms were a discretionary or non-complying activity) tended to polarise people.
The next step involves PCC officers possibly meeting with some of the submitters to clarify some points and gather more feedback. A report will then be prepared and made public well before any hearings are scheduled.
“Public hearings sometime in August is the hope,” Mr Trlin says, “we should be able to make a date at the end of this month. By then everyone should have had a fair and reasonable opportunity to read all the material.”
By Kris Dando
17 June 2008