A proposed wind farm at Dominion Salt’s Lake Grassmere site has been given the green light by Marlborough District Council.
The sole opponents, Cyril and Vanessa Schonberger, won’t appeal against the decision, which will allow the company to build five turbines with a maximum hub height of 50 metres and rotor height of 75 metres near the processing plant.
The farm could generate enough electricity to power 1375 homes and the excess power would be sold back to the grid.
Dominion Salt can build either its preferred five turbines, or seven smaller wind turbines at the same site.
Mrs Schonberger said they were disappointed, but not surprised.
“We could appeal, but why bother? It will end up costing us loads of money and they will just get their way in the end anyway.”
The Schonbergers said the turbines would be noisy, unsafe, dangerous for birds and would cause “shadow flicker”, which would cause health problems for Mrs Schonberger.
However, a hearings committee of councillors David Dew, Graeme Barsanti and David Oddie heard evidence on October 6 and notified their decision to grant resource consent on Wednesday. They, and council resource management officer Owen West, agreed with five submissions made on behalf of Dominion Salt that the effect on the environment, such as noise, would be no more than minor.
Mr West said he agreed with independent consultant landscape architect Mike Moore who said the five-turbine wind farm would be prominent from some positions but would not adversely impact the view.
URS acoustics engineer Michael Smith said noise at the closest home the Schonbergers’ would be 26 decibels, well below the 40 decibel maximum recommended by Standards New Zealand.
Energy3 develops small-scale wind farms in New Zealand.
Director Tom Cameron said that from one kilometre away there would be no more than 10 hours a year when shadow flicker would be caused by the turbines’ rotating blades.
The Schonbergers live 1.5km away.
Wind turbines were lightning-protected and had a strict control system to shut down when the wind became too strong, he said.
Wildlife Management International operations manager Mike Bell said there were no bird migration routes over or through the area.
The Schonbergers had seven days after the October hearing to provide further submissions so they felt they were being given a fair go.
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