The fate of a contentious wind farm proposal for Porteous Hill will be known in a fortnight.
Commissioner Colin Weatherall told the Otago Daily Times he expected to make his final decision on the proposed three-turbine wind farm site on Porteous Hill, north of Dunedin, during the second week of July.
The $5million-$6million project has been proposed by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust.
The trust hopes to return $100,000 annually to community needs and causes from the profit from running the 90m turbines.
However, the proposal has drawn the ire of neighbours who say property prices, quality of life and, even possibly, health will be negatively affected by the installations.
Mr Weatherall said he had visited several wind farms to aid in his decision-making.
Visiting the single turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington, and the nine-turbine farm at Mt Stuart, near Milton, was particularly useful, he said.
“The benefit of looking at the one in Wellington was quite significant.”
Mr Weatherall would not indicate his stance on the issue at present, but a decision was close, he said.
At the end of the resource consent hearing for the proposal, he said he had “a very open mind” about the decision and it was “not easy to go one way or the other”.
During the hearing, trust counsel Bridget Irving said the trust had addressed the concerns of neighbours and there was no reason for the proposal not to proceed.
Neighbours, some of whom lived less than 1km from the proposed site, said the effects of the wind farm on their health and wildlife was unknown.
The turbines could also cause property values to fall and productivity on adjoining farms to fall, they said.
Mr Weatherall heard three days of evidence in May, after which the Dunedin City Council’s planner, Daryl Sycamore, recommended declining consent, and the trust gave its right of reply last month.
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