Wind farm opposers gird loins

Last updated 13:01 24/09/2008

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The power of the people must be used to stop windmills from sullying the Tararua landscape - or the district will be ruined forever, Waitahora wind farm opposers say.

The Waitahora-Puketoi guardians, formed to oppose Contact Energy's planned $500 million wind farm in the Puketoi ranges, are warning against apathy in the region.

With the deadline for counter- submissions to the Tararua district plan looming on the horizon, people need to act now, deputy chairman Stuart Brown said.

"We have a really nice landscape over here, it's one of the really strong selling points of the Tararua.

"We don't want to see it changed for anything."

The district plan, a blueprint for the future, is revised once every 10 years.

Suggestions for plan changes can be made by anyone, and these are then put up for argument.

Earlier this month, it was revealed energy giants Mighty River Power, Trustpower, Genesis and Meridian Energy are pushing for windfarm- friendly changes to the Tararua district plan.

They are trying to loosen up rules to make it easier to build wind farms, and want council to recognise the need for wind farms in rural locations.

But Mr Brown is urging people to read these submissions carefully.

Power companies want to remove the protection of natural features, such as the skyline of the ranges, currently included in the plan, Mr Brown said. And their suggestions that council should consider windmills as "key parts of the natural landscape" and view all rural areas as "industrial" are ludicrous, he said.

"That's a huge step. Wind farms should not be seen as part of a rural lifestyle - that would be quite a sad day."

Summaries of the plan submissions can be viewed online at tararuadc.govt.nz, or by picking up a copy from any Tararua council service centre. Objections to submissions can be made until October 3.

 

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- Manawatu Standard

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