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It’s not the end for wind farm: company

The Bluff Community Board’s decision not to back the Flat Hill wind farm is not the end of the road for the project, the company behind it says.

Canterbury company Energy3 planned to build eight turbines on Flat Hill, near Bluff, and filed for consent with the Invercargill City Council this month.

However, board members have come out against the proposal and formally submitted against it.

They cited its proximity to Green Point cemetery as culturally offensive, said the turbines could cause problems for muttonbirds and could affect drivers, with the shadows falling across State Highway 1.

They were also concerned about the potential for the site to expand.

Chairman Jan Mitchell said the board was not against wind farms, but was against the Flat Hill site.

There were 10 valid issues outlined in the submission, she said.

“We were concerned eight [turbines] could grow with little or no input from the community.”

Energy3 director Warren McNabb said the decision was a setback but was not causing him concern. “I’ve seen a copy of their submission and I think some of the issues are fairly easy to deal with,” he said. “We are looking forward to working through these issues with them.”

The wind farm would be worth about $15 million and provide 7 megawatts of electricity.

Board member Brent Procter said he felt there was a consensus against the proposal.

“One of the main problems is it’s going to be highly visible from Bluff,” he said.

Asked if there was an element of “not in my backyard”, Mr Procter said he thought it was always there with wind farms.

“Our objections wouldn’t differ very much to wind farms anywhere.”

If Energy3 had picked a less conspicuous site, it might have got the board’s support, he said.

“I think they couldn’t picked a worse spot.”

Expansion of the site would be difficult to stop, he said. “Wind farms have a habit of expanding.”

Puysegur Point in Fiordland would be a better place for a wind farm, he joked.

Submissions are open until tomorrow.