An electricity transmission line cutting across their view of Mount Taranaki has united a group of Waverley residents in opposition.
On Friday commissioners consented to a 48-turbine wind farm on coastal land between Waverley and Patea. They also consented to a 13km transmission line linking generation to a substation in Waverley.
The consents are subject to appeal for 15 working days.
Mike and Angela Connell want to appeal the transmission line consent, with the help of fellow Waverley resident and former lawyer Bob Hayes.
They are joined by about 15 others from Fookes and Swinbourne Sts, , where the transmission line will cut across views.
Three years ago the Connells moved to Waverley from Makuri, in the Wairarapa, to get away from another planned wind farm.
“We strongly object to the prospect of pylons and transmission lines in front of our property, only a few metres away.”
They are worried there will be a hum from the wires, and said the prospect of the wind farm was dividing the community, as it had at Makuri.
The transmission line will run along Fookes St in front of their house. It will be 14m high, on poles.
The group would like the line buried, for the 2.5km that it fringes town streets. That would cost about $6 million, compared with $1.5 million to have it up on poles.
The company applying for the consents is Tilt Renewables. It was split off from Trustpower last October and owns wind and solar generation in Australia and New Zealand.
Its renewable development manager, Clayton Delmarter, said having the transmission line on poles was permitted under South Taranaki’s District Plan.
Mr Hayes is looking into this. He said Fookes and Swinbourne Sts had not been zoned at all in the plan. If they were zoned residential, commercial or industrial the line would have to be put underground. If rural, the poles would be permitted.
The streets are clearly residential, Mr Hayes said, with people choosing them for their rural outlook.
Mr Delmarter hopes there will be no appeals and the consents will be made final. Tilt put a lot of effort into the application process, and he said that was reflected in the result.
The site is a promising one for the company.
“It’s a strong site, with an excellent wind resource. It’s also flat, which is unusual for a wind farm, and it’s near the national grid.”
Tilt has 10 years to build the farm if consent is made final. Mr Delmarter said the company would wait until demand was strong and economic conditions right. That could be 18 to 24 months away.
Patea resident Sally Sisson hopes the wind farm will not be built. She said local people would have to live with the turbines and transmission lines, and did not need the electricity.
“I’m racking my brains for grounds to appeal.”
The consent process had showed up flaws in South Taranaki District Council’s communication, she said.
“I don’t think the process we have got at the moment is effective, because nobody knew what was going on. We’ve got to look at better ways, especially for big-ticket items like this.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding