Trustpower is objecting to a development levy that will be imposed on its plans to construct a major wind farm near Gore, and has filed an Environment Court appeal to try and have the $800,000 bill wiped.
The power company’s $400 million Kaiwera Downs project was granted consent by the Gore District Council last month.
It wants to build a 240MW wind farm on rural land 15km southeast of Gore.
The consent decision has also attracted an appeal from Upland Landscape Protection Society.
TrustPower is also objecting to the membership of a community consultative group that will be formed to work alongside the power company both during and after construction.
Similar groups of affected residents have been formed during other wind farm applications.
The council decision excluded owners and occupiers of the wind farm site from the group, and TrustPower wants them included.
It claims the council’s financial contributions policy is unlawful and unreasonable, and “disproportionate to the adverse effects” of the wind farm.
Imposing the development levy also failed to properly take into account the positive effects of the wind farm.
Meanwhile, the society has claimed the wind farm’s visual effects have largely been ignored.
“At 83 turbines with an estimated 1.63 million cu m of cut earth, including laydown areas, car parks and cranes, the wind farm will for some time be a visible industrial site, diminishing amenity values and undermining the topography,” its appeal said.
“The simulations also fail to present the scale of the turbines adequately,” its said.
The society also has issues with noise pollution and the lack of wind monitoring data made available to the public.
It wants the present application declined and TrustPower to relodge its consent with “unambiguous information” regarding turbine locations, roading, traffic and infrastructure to be made freely and widely publicly available.
Gore council planner Keith Hovell said a pre-hearing date might be set within the next few weeks.
That would allow submitters to meet in a bid to resolve their differences before a full hearing is held.
• Kaiwera wind farm
At a glance
Location: 15km southeast of Gore, 10km east of Mataura.
Size: Spread over a 2568ha parcel of land.
Turbines: A maximum of 83 turbines with a maximum height of 145m.
Capacity: Maximum generation of 240MW.
Cost: Estimated to be $400 million.
Submissions: 65 in total with 27 against, 25 in support and 13 neutral.
Construction: To be built in two or three stages over 10 years.
By Glenn Conway
5 July 2008
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