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Wind farm appeal; opponent leaving  

Credit:  By David Loughrey on Wed, 3 Aug 2016 | Otago Daily Times | www.odt.co.nz ~~

A plan for a wind farm near Blueskin Bay in Dunedin is set to head to the Environment Court, after its backers appealed a decision to decline resource consent.

The appeal infuriated nearby resident Jamie Pickford, who says he has had enough and plans to sell his property and move.

Another resident said he planned to contact his lawyers in a process he described as “gruelling”.

Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust chairman Craig Marshall said he regretted the concerns of opponents of the plan for three 90m turbines on Porteous Hill, but the trust was trying to form a response to “wider” issues like climate change.

The trust has said it hoped the $5million to $6million project would also return $100,000 a year in profits for community needs and causes.

But the proposal drew the ire of nearby neighbours, who said property prices, quality of life and even, possibly, health would be negatively affected by the installations.

Last month, a Dunedin City Council resource consent committee declined consent.

Commissioner Colin Weatherall said his decision was significantly influenced by the adverse effects the wind farm would have on the amenity and character of three Pryde Rd properties.

The appeal document said the committee erred on a number of issues, including determining the turbines would be intrusive and visually dominant over the properties.

It erred when it said the noise of the turbines would reinforce that dominance, and in not granting consent for two turbines it considered acceptable.

Mr Pickford, whose Pryde Rd property would be about 800m from the turbines, said he had “had a gutsful”.

“As a result, we’re no longer prepared to live in the community.

“Our house will be going on the market.”

Mr Pickford said as far as he and his partner were concerned, the commissioner had made the correct ruling.

He had offered the property to the trust, but had been told it did not want to buy it.

He was not prepared to go through the Environment Court process.

“We’ve got to get out of there, and we can’t afford to go to the Environment Court, that’s the other thing.”

Another Pryde Rd resident, Simon Ryan, said he planned to get legal advice. He was “very surprised” at the decision to appeal, given the decision being “pretty clear”.

Dr Ryan said nobody would want to go through the process.

“It’s absolutely gruelling”.

Mr Marshall said Mr Weatherall had described the decision as “finely balanced”.

The decision came down to one of the turbines causing loss of amenity outweighing the benefit of the project.

“Our view, when we reflected on that, and thought about that, we felt that that wasn’t correct.

“We believed that what we were doing was worthwhile.”

He said the trust had not been given the opportunity to discuss how reconfiguring the wind farm might have addressed the issues. If the decision was finely balanced, that might have made the difference.

Asked about the effect on residents, Mr Marshall said it was distressing to the trust, and it was not its intention when it began the process.

“But we also feel that we’re trying to address an issue that has a wider effect. Our focus is what can we do now to make a difference in the future?”

On issues of climate change and renewable energy, “we’re trying to go from identifying those and complaining about them to the stage of saying ‘here is something we can do now that will have an effect in the future’.”

Source:  By David Loughrey on Wed, 3 Aug 2016 | Otago Daily Times | www.odt.co.nz

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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