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Wind farm decision still on the way

Waverley and Patea people should soon find out whether 48 massive wind turbines are going to be built on coastal land there.

South Taranaki District Council expects to make a decision on Waverley Wind Farm consents early next year, planning manager Blair Sutherland says.

The Trustpower proposal for a 48-turbine wind farm on 980ha of coastal land between Waverley and Patea attracted 24 submissions, most of them against it.

The council has requested more information from Trustpower for the application, and that information is due back early next month. It is waiting for cultural impact assessments from both Ngā Rauru and Ngāti Ruanui and, as a result of submissions, more information relating to noise and visual effects.

Those who have made submissions on the application will be consulted as the council considers the proposal, but no further submissions will be called for, Mr Sutherland said.

The region has several monitoring masts but the wind farm will be a first for South Taranaki and the wider Taranaki region.

With a large project, the applicant can opt to have the Environmental Protection Authority consider the resource consent application, but in this case has not done so.

Taranaki Regional Council has been asked to issue consent for minor activities at the site – earthworks, installing culverts, stormwater discharges, dust, water takes and filling man-made ponds, resource management director Fred McLay said.

Ngā Rauru should have its cultural impact assessment done by the end of November, kaiwhakahaere Anne-Marie Broughton said.
It still needed more input from marae and from owners of the Waipipi Section 75 Okotuku District block, who met there recently at Trustpower’s request. The block is 20ha “smack bang in the middle” of the wind farm, and the only piece of land in the area that was never mined for sand in the 70s and 80s.