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‘Sad’ news for Waverley people about transmission lines

Knowing the Waverley Wind Farm’s transmission line will soon stretch out along Swinbourne St makes resident Rosemary Godderidge extremely sad.

Construction on the 31-turbine wind farm on coastal land near Waverley is due to start next year. When it is built 110kV transmission lines will take the electricity generated 13km to the Waverley substation in Mangatangi Rd.

The lines will circle part of the town, on Swinbourne and Fookes streets.

South Taranaki District Council is looking for ideas about improving the centres of small towns, including Waverley. Godderidge said the lines would not make them more beautiful.

“I just think it’s a huge backward step. I think those sort of lines should go underground.”

She’s also sad for her Fookes St neighbours, Mike and Angela Connell.

“They find it particularly upsetting. It’s hard. It’s really hard,” she said.

Rosemary and Phil Godderidge and Mike and Angela Connell went to the Environment Court to ask for the lines to be put underground. Both couples considered shifting if that didn’t happen.

But any appeal against the resource consent would be costly, and they dropped it. They also asked the Environment Court to make South Taranaki District Council decide whether the two streets on the edge of Waverley are zoned rural or residential.

If they had been zoned residential, the lines would have had to be put underground.

But the court said that matter was outside its scope, and that any change to the zoning of the streets would not have a retrospective effect. Even if successful it could not force the wind farm owner, Tilt Renewables, to put the lines underground.

South Taranaki has an operative district plan, with a proposed district plan that is nearly final. The council’s planning manager, Blair Sutherland, said a paragraph was missed from the proposed plan.

“The roads are shown without zoning on them. There was meant to be a clarifying paragraph in the plan.”

But if there the paragraph would have made the outer half of the two streets rural – and allowed the transmission lines to be above ground.

Waverley residents could still ask for a plan change. But it would only make a difference to any new activity, Sutherland said, and not to the agreed placement of the lines.