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Opposition to solar farm

The Greytown Community Board has resolved to make a submission opposing the resource consent for a large-scale solar farm, citing a lack of community consultation and information.

At a meeting on Tuesday, a board submission on Far North Solar Farm’s 235-hectare project on the outskirts of the town was tabled.

Concerns raised about the project’s effect on property values, visual amenity, and the recycling capabilities for solar panels prompted South Wairarapa councillor Martin Bosley to ask whether the board was “opposed to renewable energy”.

However, he agreed with member Jo Woodcock that the question of how the solar farm would benefit the community should be considered, given the power generated would be sold to the national grid.

“Greytown’s benefit would be free power, or discounted,” Woodcock said.

Member Neil Morison said he needed more details about the project before he put his name to a submission.

“I would like more information before I commit.

“I’ve been a farmer all my life. There’s a lot of outside pressure telling farmers what they can do and what they can’t do, and this is an example of that.

“But personally, I don’t like it [the solar farm] being there on my back doorstep.”

Bosley characterised the lack of information and community consultation on the project as “sneaky”.

“It feels a little bit sneaky, doesn’t it, that Far North hasn’t actually had a public meeting on this, when it’s fairly big,” he said.

South Wairarapa District Council policy and governance general manager Amanda Bradley advised the board members that any submission had to be made with “the community board hat on”.

She said the best practice would be to agree on a submission in the meeting.

However, in the absence of that, board members could submit individually, or “submit you do not feel there is enough information”.

“Be very mindful that you have a community board hat on, rather than a personal view.”

The board passed a motion to delegate deputy chair Warren Woodgyer to make a submission on the Far North Solar Farm proposal on behalf of the board, subject to board approval.

“The submission would have the position that the consent should not go forward. There has been a lack of community consultation, information provided to the community, and clear benefit to the community outlined. There has been insufficient information presented for anyone to make an informed submission.”

Through a spokesperson, Far North Solar Farm said it was disappointed to hear the board’s decisions and maintained it had consulted with “tangata whenua and all affected landowners in proximity to the site,” and queried whether the board had seen the consent application”.

“The entire resource consent application has been available for public scrutiny. There is simply no more information about the application that can be made available than this,” the spokesperson said.

“Perhaps the community board did not know about this?”

Despite Woodcock stating otherwise in the meeting, Far North Solar said it had not received any requests for information or clarification on the proposal.

It said adopting renewable energy, “benefits us all, not just the Greytown community”.

    Submissions on the resource consent for the Far North Solar Farm project close on June 6, at 4pm.

1 COMMENT

  1. I live in Greytown; and I don’t know that I oppose this proposal. Solar energy is a big part of the future.

Comments are closed.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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