Property owners within a 2km radius of a major wind farm project have met with the company heading the initiative.
Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd’s proposed wind farm included 42 large scale turbines, seven of them 180 metres tall and 17 will be 207m tall.
The company lodged resource consent applications with Hauraki District Council and Waikato Regional Council for the wind farm on the north-western area of the Kaimai Range, south of Paeroa.
But the main site access would be from the south, from Wright Road, which comes off Rawhiti Road, near Te Aroha in a corner of the Matamata-Piako district.
The turbine parts were proposed to be transported from Tauranga, through Matamata-Piako district, to the site.
Robyn and Paul Williams live on Rawhiti Road at the base of the Kaimai Range where some of the turbines will be clearly viewed.
They were among 40 other people living within 2kms of the project who attended a meeting at Mangaiti Hall, to hear more about the project from representatives of Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd.
Robyn Williams said people were not asked who was in favour or against the project.
“But some people did have concerns, manly about the visual effects and the noise generated, for those living in that 2km zone.
“People also wanted to know more about who was running the company and why it wanted to come to this area.”
Many of those who attended indicated they would write a submission to the councils about the wind farm.
The Williams also had a “one-on-one” meeting with representatives of Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd.
“They were very reasonable and informative. They went out of their way to answer our questions,” Robyn Williams said.
The Williams said while people in the Hauraki district might be aware of the project, they thought others in Matamata-Piako might not.
“I don’t think the residents [at the meeting] were aware the project was happening so soon even though the company said there had been numerous letters sent out,” Robyn WIlliams said.
“We are concerned at how big they [turbines] are , the biggest ones in New Zealand.
“We’re worried about the visual effects, for example, at the Te Aroha Golf Club course, they are huge, can see them clearly.”
She thought, after viewing concept images and maps of the project, people from nearby Tahuna and Morrinsville would be able to see the turbines.
Kaimai Wind Farm chief executive Glenn Starr, in a written statement, said visual effects from wind farms were unavoidable.
“In this case, turbine design and layout has been approached carefully over several years with a range of options investigated, both as to size and placement of the turbines.
“The turbines are large structures, but there will be fewer of them seen from any one house in the 2km radius, than if smaller less efficient turbines were employed to achieve sufficient electricity generation.”
He said experience showed that people’s reactions to the turbines would be different.
“While some will see them as bad for the landscape, to others they will be a feature of interest.
“Mitigation is achieved though turbine placement and colour, and opportunities for off site mitigation will be explored with neighbouring landowners in the consenting process ahead.”
Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd’s electricity market report, which formed part of its submission, said the wind farm would plug into Transpower’s 110KV Valley Spur circuit between Hamilton and Kopu.
It would have an expected annual output of 400GWh and would help replace electricity generation lost through other power stations retired in the past decade.
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