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Makara Guardians Appeal Wind Farm Ruling

Makara Guardians Appeal Wind Farm Ruling

1 February 2006

Makara Guardians Incorporated filed an appeal yesterday afternoon against the Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council decision to grant Meridian Energy resource consent for a 70 wind turbine development at Makara.

In their ruling the Hearing Commissioners, Wellington City Councillors Robert Armstrong and Alick Shaw and two commissioners representing the Greater Wellington Regional Council found that the Makara community and Wellington's coastline would suffer "significant adverse effects"

Speaking on behalf of the Society, Ms Jorgensen said:

a.. "The overwhelming majority of the residents of Makara, represented by the Guardians, were left with no choice but to appeal to the Environment Court following the decision which completely ignored the City Council's own independent adviser who recommended around 30% of the turbines be declined. The intent of the City Council's own Makara Rural Community Plan was also ignored.

a.. Over 800 submitters including several environment groups opposed the development; the number of submitters who spoke against the proposal at the hearings heavily outweighed those who spoke in support.

a.. While the numbers in support of the proposal may appear high, many of these simply filled out one of the 40,000 pre-ticked (in support), postage-paid submission forms distributed by Meridian. Support may not have been forthcoming if people had been told that there would be significant adverse impacts on the local community and the coast.

a.. There are too many turbines, too close to residents, and they are too big. These turbines cannot belong where people live."

Ms Jorgensen added:

"The hasty and arbitrary adoption of projects such as West Wind at a time when the Ministry for the Environment is already considering the adoption of national standards to mitigate the adverse impacts of such projects, seems at best premature and at worst provocative."

"Unfortunately in its advertising campaign, Meridian has sent a message to the public that wind turbines are environmentally friendly, but this is not the case when turbines are sited as close to people as Meridian proposes at Makara."

Footnotes:

1.. Makara Guardians Inc, represents some 85% of the families in the Makara Valley, 10km from the Wellington CBD and consists of around 160 members. Membership is restricted to residents or owners of land in Makara who support the objectives of the Society and who are aged over 18.

2.. The Makara community has to bear the brunt of raising funds by way of donations to fight a large SOE funded with taxpayer monies. This is a David and Goliath battle but a battle that must be fought and hopefully won to protect homes and avoid a damaging precedent being set.

ENDS

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