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Windfarm hearing set for August

The consent hearing for Allco’s Waverley windfarm has been rescheduled for August 12.

Five days have been booked for the hearing before the South Taranaki District Council’s environment and hearings committee in the Hawera community centre.

Australian applicant Allco Financial Group pulled the plug on the original hearing, set for May 5, because its executives were immersed in selling assets to reduce debt.

Allco’s wind farm expert, technical director Bernhard Voll, said yesterday the company’s asset sales were proceeding independently of the consent application.

“The chance that we will sell the windfarm asset before the consent is granted is relatively high,” he said.

“If we still own the asset, we will run it. If not, we will run it under a service agreement. At this stage we are proceeding as planned.”

Allco has an agreement with coastal land owners Warwick Lupton and David Alexander to build 45 turbines, each 150-metres-tall, on the former Waipipi ironsands mining area. There were 127 submissions received by the council. Ninety-four opposed the $300 million project, mainly on the grounds of height, noise, vibration and landscape effects.

The most vocal opponent is adjoining landowner Roger Dickie, who says it will devalue his coastal lifestyle subdivision.

All members of the hearings committee have now passed or renewed their accreditation requirements as hearings commissioners under the Resource Management Act, says the chairman Ian Wards.

richard.woodd@tnl.co.nz – Taranaki Daily News | Wednesday, 02 July 2008