Despite failing to stop the construction of the Metrowind Van Stadens wind farm, residents of Blue Horizon Bay are committed to halting the development until their concerns are addressed.
This week the residents also brought an application to the high court for a review of the refusal by the minister of environmental affairs to grant condonation of the late appeal against the department’s decision to authorise the final environmental impact report which cleared the way for the developers to construct the wind farm.
This follows other court bids earlier this year, including an appeal to Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs (DEDEA) Mcebisi Jonas regarding the granting of special consent to rezone the land from agricultural to house the nine turbines.
“The reason we were turned down is because our appeal came in too late but the reason we appealed at that late stage is because we were only informed about the development of the wind farm at that stage,” resident Henk Botha said.
He said residents’ concerns included the proximity of the turbines to homes, the wind farm causing the value of properties to drop, and turbines being a noise nuisance. He said the construction phase had also been a major inconvenience for residents due to several road closures and construction vehicles frequenting the roads.
Botha said developers had forged ahead with construction despite being aware of the concerns of the residents and the attempts to halt the development. He said residents of the upmarket suburb had not been consulted and all environmental approvals had been given before they were informed.
Residents also claim the assessment is flawed because it did not take the views of the public into account.
Over 300 residents had signed a petition against the go-ahead of the wind farm but 25 of them appear as applicants on court papers.
Three months ago the residents’ application to the high court for an interdict to stop the erection of the wind farm, pending unresolved appeals and objections, was dismissed.
Donald McGillivray, director at Rubicept RF, which is behind the development of the wind farm, said on August 1 the high court dismissed the residents application to stop construction as it found that the developer was acting in accordance with valid environmental authorisations and the zoning scheme regulations.
“The residents have been ordered to pay the costs of their failed application. It is therefore not correct for the residents to say that they intend to bring an application to stop construction as their efforts have already failed,” McGillivray said.
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