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Pole to stay grounded

The trust proposing a wind farm near Blueskin Bay says it does not plan to re-erect a 30m pole with data collection equipment toppled in an act of vandalism recently.

The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust says it has enough data to head to the Environment Court to appeal a consent decision released last year that denied consent for the wind farm.

Project manager Scott Willis said he still hoped police might catch the perpetrator.

”At some point – this is a small community – someone will talk,” he said.

The trust was denied consent after the proposal drew the ire of nearby neighbours, who said property prices, quality of life and health would be negatively affected by the wind farm.

The pole had been fitted with sensitive instruments, including wind vanes, anemometers to record wind speed and solar panels to provide power.

The data was to be used to provide evidence in the trust’s appeal in the Environment Court, set down for June 26.

Some time near the start of this month guy wires securing the pole on Porteous Hill were cut, probably with bolt-cutters, and the structure brought down.

Mr Willis said the pole and data collection gear would not be going back up.

While the vandalism was ”sad, and a criminal act”, it would not derail the Environment Court process.

It had delayed collection of data by a week, but the trust was able, through MetService, to synthesis data that could be used.

The site also had ”probably the most wind data collection of any wind site in New Zealand”.

That meant a report being produced for the court could be completed.

Mr Willis said police had told him they were making inquiries.

”The perpetrator hasn’t turned themselves in.

”We’ve left it with the police.”