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Critics of wind farm say they were misled  

Credit:  MATHEW GROCOTT, Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 4 April 2012 ~~

Neighbours of a transmission line linking Palmerston North with a new wind farm have complained of being misled by the backer of the project.

At day five of the consent hearing for the Puketoi wind farm in Pahiatua yesterday it was the turn of opponents of the scheme to have their say.

Various submitters accused Mighty River Power of misleading them or being slow to produce information about what they planned.

Mighty River Power reached agreements with 53 landowners before the hearing began. However, some who live near the transmission line said the first they knew of the plan was when the resource consent application was filed.

Shannon McGhie, who lives in Makairo, below the proposed wind farm, said he had attended an information day where he was told by an employee of Mighty River the transmission line would not run past his family’s property.

Five days later the same employee arrived at the family farm to tell them the line would run about 300m from their boundary line, about 500m from the house.

Mr McGhie said he did not oppose the wind farm development, which would be visible from the property, but he wanted the transmission line moved further from the home he shared with his siblings and parents.

The company had offered to move the line a further 80m away from the home, but Mr McGhie said that was not enough.

“My family are extremely stressed and don’t need this lurking on their minds. That line is just sitting behind our house.

“Mighty River Power have moved the line a bit, but not enough.”

He also said the company’s consultation was inadequate and his family should have been told about the plan sooner than they were, which was after the resource consent was applied for.

“I feel anyone with a good sense of moral values would have kept us informed.”

The proposed wind farm, 20 kilometres east of Pahiatua, would have 53 giant turbines along the ridge line, reaching up to 160 metres high. The transmission line would traverse 37km, with the last nine pylons on the Palmerston North side of the Tararuas on the Turitea reserve, linking to the already consented Turitea wind farm and transmission line.

Rosemary Adams, who lived 200m from the Turitea power substation, said Mighty River Power had a track record of being misleading and withholding information.

During discussion about the Turitea wind farm the company did not reveal for some time its plans to run transmission lines from that project to Puketoi.

Pax Kirk told the hearing he was concerned about adverse health effects from the high voltage transmission lines. He had moved to his Pahiatua home to get away from powerlines and did not want one running near his house.

The hearing continues today.

Source:  MATHEW GROCOTT, Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 4 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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