The Hurunui District Council will send a mayor’s letter to Meridian to encourage further discussion with opponents to their Hurunui windfarm project.
The council voted on a request from John Carr in a presentation at a packed council meeting on Thursday, December 16.
Mr Carr outlined his concerns about consultation with the local community and implored the council to support more consultation by asking Meridian to continue talking with him about commissioning an independent survey before the application for consent was lodged next year.
He said Meridian had stated they would not go ahead with the wind farm if the community didn’t want them to, and his own survey of close to 400 people revealed most of the community opposed the proposal.
“It’s not John Carr, it’s the community that’s against it,” he said.
After the council vote on a mayor’s letter was carried, Mr Carr and many residents attending the meeting left.
Farmer Graeme Higginson was unhappy with the amount of time given to the deputation.
“We’re talking about changing the landscape forever and all we get is 10 minutes,” he said.
However Mr Carr said he was pleased with the outcome.
“This is an important step in trying to get an appropriate survey of the community on the issue.
Mayor Winton Dalley acknowledged the issue was divisive and said he believed the council’s role was to facilitate dialogue between all affected parties. “We should encourage all parties to talk because the downside is legal battles,” Mr Dalley said.
He said the resource consent process would provide a further opportunity for all parties to discuss concerns.
Tow meridian staff members were at the meeting – Allan McKinney, project manager for Project Hurunui, and Alison van Polanen, resource consent manager for the project.
In a statement to the Northern Outlook, Meridian said the company believed the resource consent process provided the framework for identifying and assessing different aspects of the proposal, including the concerns of individuals or groups.
They would also hold open days for the community late next month.
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