Frost fan settlement a secret

A long-running dispute over a frost fan in a Waihopai Valley vineyard appears to have been settled, but none of the parties are saying how.

A consent order issued last week by Environment Court judge John Jackson says the Hyson family of Waihopai Valley has had its appeal allowed, and Judge Jackson amended the resource consent issued by the Marlborough District Council to vineyard owner Waihopai Holdings.

The three parties involved – the council, the Hyson family and Waihopai Holdings – took part in a mediation process which resulted in a consent memorandum being submitted to the Environment Court in June to resolve the appeal.

The amended resource consent shows a new, slightly closer location of a frost fan, and says an anemometer will be installed on the fan to take wind measurements every three minutes, shutting the fan down when the wind gets to eight kilometres an hour. It also refers to Waihopai Holdings doing "mitigation measures agreed to in a mediated settlement dated April 3, 2012", but does not say what those are.

The appeal to the Environment Court was lodged by the Hyson family in October last year, but they have been arguing with the council since 2009 over the noise effects of frost fans on their family home about 185 metres away.

Waihopai Holdings previously operated two frost fans closer to the Hyson family home, but the Marlborough District Council issued an abatement notice because the noise levels were too high. The Wairau/Awatere resource management plan says noise levels from fans must not exceed 60 decibels 300m from the fan or at any point within a house, whichever is nearest.

Hyson family spokesman Michael Hyson said yesterday that as part of the mitigation measures agreement, he was "gagged from saying anything to anyone" about it.

Marlborough District Council lawyer Kaye McIlveney said the parties had agreed to mediation, and as part of that, all three had agreed to the proceedings being confidential.

"All three parties have obligations not to talk."

She said the council was pleased that an agreement had been reached and it was good to have it settled.

Waihopai Holdings director John Buchanan could not be contacted yesterday.

The Marlborough Express