Mayor defends Council's actions
Local Hurunui wind farm opponent, John Carr, has written to the Environment Court making wide-sweeping and very serious allegations about the Council and its staff.
Hurunui District Council Mayor, Winton Dalley, says that Mr Carr’s allegations are totally unfounded.
In his letter Mr Carr alleges a cost sharing agreement that the Council entered into with Meridian Energy and its decision to refer Meridian Energy’s application for a windfarm directly to the Environment Court are illegal. He wants Meridian Energy’s application dismissed and the Council directed to start the process afresh.
Dalley says the Council has been careful to take legal advice throughout this process to ensure its decision making is absolutely sound.
“Mr Carr has made it clear that he is opposed to Meridian Energy’s application for the wind farm, and was not happy with the Council’s decision to adopt the more streamlined one-step Environment Court process” said Mayor Dalley, “But these allegations are totally unacceptable.
“The Council has no hidden agendas on this or any other matter. We made it very clear back in June last year that the reasons that our Council and the Canterbury Regional Council had agreed to Meridian Energy’s request to refer the matter directly to the Environment Court, was because we believed that if the application was to be heard by us, that given the strength of views, the likelihood of an appeal was so high that ultimately it would be decided by the Environment Court anyway. Referring it directly to the Environment Court had the advantage of speeding up the inevitable and gaining certainty for the community one way or the other much sooner.”
Mayor Dalley and his council have always stood by the reality that that there are significant cost advantages to the wider community from this direct referral process.
“With the two-step process, if it goes to appeal, the costs would be considerable and the Council has little control over them escalating because it must defend its decision when appealed.”
Mayor Dalley says statements by Mr Carr that the Council’s executive are working in tandem with Meridian Energy and that its experts and staff are compromised are wrong.
“While I can appreciate that Mr Carr and others are upset about a proposed development of this nature, the way he is going about his opposition - making sweeping, unjustified allegations, really does nothing to further his cause.”
The Council has responded to Mr Carr’s allegations through its lawyers.
All memoranda and letters on this matter are available here.
For further information contact:
Mayor Winton Dalley
Phone 03 314-0018 029 770 2866