Plan to move upsets Twizel 'moon base' for secret discussion

A stoush is threatening to envelop Twizel over Meridian Energy moving its "moon base" into town.

The moon base is the colloquial term for Meridian's office based four kilometres out of Twizel. The state-owned power company wants to buy a piece of land behind the market place in Twizel, near the main entrance to the town.

On Tuesday the Mackenzie District Council will decide behind closed doors if they will sell the land to Meridian.

Several residents in Twizel have voiced their concern about the proposal, with one man, Graeme Vaughan, beginning a petition opposing the sale.

Mayor Claire Barlow defended the item being discussed behind closed doors, saying it was commercially sensitive, and the Twizel Community Board had recommended the sale go ahead.

"The land has been up for sale for nine years and is zoned commercial," Barlow said.

"Meridian moving into town will bolster the market place.

"It is frustrating for me. If I could give more information I would but it is not my information to give to the public.

"We are elected representatives of the people. We are confident we have heard all the issues and they have been considered."

Vaughan said a public meeting should be held with Twizel residents to discuss the land.

"Meridian at any one time have a minimum of 40 cars, where are they going to park?" he said. "They have said they are going to park behind the gym, but have a wet day they will all park in the market place.

"If they went where DOC is they would have plenty of parking.

"I've arranged a petition, but I'm on crutches so I have been limited where I can take it."

He had about 30 signatures, he said.

"We have not even had a chance for a public meeting."

In the town's community newsletter, Twizel Update, another resident, Graeme Bond, said it appeared to be a done deal and asked for ratepayers to be given a chance to put a stop to the "ridiculous" proposal.

Maree Hema also requested a public meeting.

The Timaru Herald