Monday, November 9, 2009

Wind Farm - Environment Court decision in favour of landscape values

There has been an encouraging result out of the Environment Court, recognising the unique scenic wonders of Central Otago's block mountains. The Court was sitting to decide on the suitability of a huge wind-farm on the Lammermoor Range, and they've ruled against such development.

I was always amazed at the audacity of such a development on such a special landscape - two aspects really: the obvious visual impact, but also the glossed over infrastructure of roads to be built and how to maintain same.

The Otago daily Times has published a few articles recently:

Project Hayes: Gone with the wind

'Silent majority' not acquiescent on wind farm

To give you an idea of the landscape I've published a series of landscape photography efforts I've made over a few years of 4wd wanderings on these mountains. Taken in summer I might add - winter would be a whole 'nuther ball-game!

It's really a fine weather road I've used...

Two Land Cruisers in expedition mode about to head over the southern end of the Lammerlaw / Lammermoor range...

Descending, and now to where there is some green grass, we're now well down of the Lammerlaw range. Note the rocks for gate posts..

On the Paerau - Patearoa road we stopped to let a mob of sheep by on the hottest of hot summer days, and because we had a fridge full of beer we gave the astonished farmer walking with them a bottle of ice-cold Speights...

We deviated and came out to Ranfurly on this trip for a coffee and minor supplies. Ever since the advent of the hugely successful Central Otago Rail Trail, it's been pretty sophisticated in Ranfurly...

Ranfurly lady...

The historic Styx Hotel and Styx Jail/ Gaol ["Styx" is also known as Paerau] lies nestled beside the Taieri River at the foot of the Dunstan Trail. There used to be a hotel on both sides of the river because of its importance as a stopping place, and in case there was a flood...

This chain in the historic Styx Jail was possibly more of a lock-up for protecting gold bullion during overnight coach stops than it was for prisoners...

Here a local artist at Styx paints beside the meandering Taieri River, actually in this area home of the extensive Taieri River wetlands...

The altitude is deceptive but does add to a "big sky" feel...

At a welcome creek of really pure water filtered by mosses etc. we re-filled our vehicle water bottles...

Rocks used as fence posts abound in this area...

I'm sure perceptions will now be altered by planners such as those hatching plans for dams on the Clutha River! However there are people out there with different agendas: "Wind farm group laments decision"... more>>

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Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
A great victory for the earth, it shows what local presistence can do. A very tough fight. I have just recieved the decisions made by the Tararua District Council here in regards to the plethora of changes to its 10 year plans made by a conglomorate of power companies, all of them. While the Puketoi wind farm has been stopped, another local victory, most of the amendments to the plan they wanted have been approved. Which leads me to believe that with Gerry Brownlee huffing and puffing over getting into conservation land that storm clouds are still hovering for our wild places.
Of course now you are correct, are lidded eyes being cast deeper towards places like the Clutha?
I find the comments of Fraser Clark to be somewhat self serving towards his own interests. To say that we want low cost energy using natural elements we hold dear is all well and good, but I have seen no proof it is low cost, effective, and not impacting on the environment. I live next to huge wind farm development here in the Manawatu, and I know I am paying more for power than ever before so there are certainly no local benefits to such schemes. Why are people like Fraser and the corporate elements so afraid then of starting a real and bonefide effort to get solar water heating and power to individuals? Might it be because of the potential profits taken away from the pwoer companies, both private and government owned?
Thanks for keeping us informed and sharing the great photos of how important such places are. Kia kaha Donald.

November 10, 2009 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Robb

>Might it be because of the potential profits taken away from the pwoer companies, both private and government owned?

This is probably correct. There is a parallel in the communications world... it was demonstrated in Hurricane Katrina that the communication system that survived was wireless based. I think I read this online at a TED conference and it was suggested there that if every car and truck in the US had a wireless base station fitted there'd be a robust communication system across the nation every time one vehicle passed another, and as was pointed out none of the telcos wanted a bar of it because once established it'd have such slim maintenance needs there'd be no money in it.

Oh... the system is already proved in several major cites where a certain rental car company has set up such a system. Folk who subscribe to it can find the nearest vehicle to suit their needs by using a keyring wireless device. Such subscribers have also noted instead of doing 10000Km per year they're down to 500! And there are no garaging/parking costs.

Looking forward to having a long read of your latest post as soon as I can.



November 10, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Marg said...

HI there - REading in the paper today about the commemorations surrounding the toppling of the Berlin Wall and then reading your post strongly reminded me of how lucky we are to live somewhere where there is still freedom of speech and diversity of expression. YOu can oppose a wind farm and publicly speak out about it and not get into trouble for it. That, I think is great. Also the photos do give a sense of what the profound impact would be on the landscape should such a scheme go ahead.

ON a different bit similar note the movie Food inc is well worth a view for similar reasons.


November 10, 2009 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Marg

Yes, it's amazing how dangerous it can be to go against the flow in some countries.

What worries me mostly here though is that we actually have to fight ideas forced on us by people who presumably do not value what we have in terms of a bigger picture! And these ideas are foisted on us, and then the onus is on those of us with enough time and money to fight tooth and nail. It all seems upside down!

I'll watch out for Food Inc., so thanks for the heads up. Am planning to read you latest news more fully as soon as I've time



November 11, 2009 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Marg said...

Hi Donald - well so much for not wanting to be an endless commenter but I find I want to comment on both your commnents so hope that's ok with you.

Your comment about having to fight things that are foisted on us is so true in so many spheres that if you stop to think hard about it you could get truly overwhelmed. I guess each of us has to choose the few things that matter most to us and do our best for them. for me it is about living as responsibly and ethically as I am able to at any given moment. In my field of work - education - there is a lot of really alarming stuff happening at the moment and even though the changes have real consequences now and in the future I am amazed how hard it is to inspire and mobilise many of my colleagues. Luckily there is a growing groundswell of support and activity but it is a slow process.

I was interested to hear about your past work life. Even though I don't like renovating much I do prefer to own old furniture and the things I love the most are 2 old armchairs I bought for $40 and saved up and got reupholstered. I also didn't mean to imply that just because I can live with less than perfect that I don't appreciate things done to a high standard or even to a meticulous finish. there is much to admire about something that is exquisitely finished - whether that be an object like a piece of furniture, or a movie, or a piece of writing or someone's performance at work. It's just that there is a high cost in all of that and if I am requiring those standards of others or myself then I need to consciously choose that cost. Not be driven to it by that side of myself which is not known to me.

That's all - Marg

November 12, 2009 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!


January 3, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

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