May 25, 2011
New Zealand

Submissions close on proposal

The Press, 25 May 2011

A controversial North Canterbury wind-farm proposal has drawn more than 130 submissions.

Submissions on Meridian Energy’s resource consent bid for a 33-turbine wind farm at Centre Hill closed yesterday.

Environment Canterbury had received 50 by late afternoon, of which 32 opposed the project, 17 were in support and one was neutral.

The Hurunui District Council had received 83 submissions, but did not have a breakdown of those for and against.

Some were likely to be duplicates, with people submitting to both authorities.

A project opponent, Greta Valley businessman John Carr, said the impact on health, noise, tourism and the landscape was driving opposition.

Carr believed the project’s location would hurt the region’s tourism industry.

“It’s in entirely the wrong place,” he said.

“I’m not against wind farms and the generation of electricity, but it is deeply affecting the people of North Canterbury.”

Carr said more isolated sites on government-owned St James and Molesworth stations were closer to the national grid and better suited to wind farms.

Farmer Alex Baxter said the turbines’ visual impact was behind his opposition.

“It’s on pretty attractive North Canterbury landscape that everybody talks about and we value it fairly highly.

“Why put it in front of everybody here? We’re on the Alpine Pacific Triangle, which is the main tourist route for Hurunui.”

The electricity company had not properly considered the landscape impact, Baxter said.

“We live here, we have the landscape. How can Meridian tell us how we value our landscape?”

A Meridian spokeswoman said the consent application followed “many months of consultation with the local community and, in particular, with potentially affected landowners”.

“Now submissions are closed, we will be in a position to fully understand the position of parties in support, neutral or opposed to the proposed wind farm.”

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