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Paeroa locals voice scepticism over proposed wind farm, which could power 50k homes

Submissions for a controversial wind farm closed last month, but locals are concerned of the potential impact it could have on the landscape.

Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd lodged resource consent applications with Hauraki District Council and the Waikato Regional Council to establish and operate 24 wind turbines on the northwestern side of the Kaimai Ranges.

However, nearly three-quarters of those who submitted to the district council were opposed to the idea.

Local farmer John MacRae told 1 NEWS one “major” concern would be the visual effect.

“Even the applicant’s experts acknowledge that it’s going to be high impact,” Mr MacRae says.

The company says the turbines will “change the landscape”, according to its spokesperson, Clare Bayly.

“They are big towers, but in other parts of New Zealand where they’ve become established, they’ve become a tourist attraction,” Ms Bayly says.

She says the turbines will generate enough power to supply 50,000 homes, and it’s looking at ways to give back to the community while working closely with iwi.

Of the 24 turbines, 17 of them will be 207 metres high, and seven will be 27 metres lower.

Overallm Hauraki District Council received 220 submissions on the proposal, and 157 were opposed.

The council says there will be pre-hearing meetings, before submitters and the applicant will present their views to independent commissioners by the middle of the year.