Residents worried about stations

Aurora Energy Ltd is seeking to have an old Queenstown Lakes District Council-owned stone quarry near Wanaka designated for an electricity switching station and substation.

The Dunedin-based lines company put its case to independent commissioner Jane Taylor and Cr Cath Gilmour at a hearing in Wanaka this week. .

The quarry is at the intersection of Ballantyne and Riverside Rds and six local residents provided written submissions on Aurora's choice of location for the development and concerns about noise, electromagnetic fields, visual effects and proximity to earthquake fault lines.

Raelene and Peter Shanks, owners of the property closest to the site, submitted their view would be marred by the stations and they had questions about the potential effect on their health from the electromagnetic field they would create.

In addition to those issues, nearby resident Mark Magill was concerned about contamination of groundwater and fires and explosions from lightning strikes.

For Aurora, lawyer Phil Page said the company's agreement to buy the site from the council was conditional on the property being designated for the stations.

The stations were required to cope with increased electricity demand in the Upper Clutha over the next 10 years.

Mr Page said transformers on the site would comply with noise levels set by the council in the district plan, Aurora would provide evidence the electromagnetic field would be within national guidelines and planting would mitigate the visual impact of the development.

Mr Page said any risk of earthquakes at the site was considered low.

''The closest mapped fault is 7km away from the site.''

He produced a report from Geosolve which said ''detailed geological investigations at the site show no evidence of fault displacements in the last 15,000 years''.

Council planner Ian Greaves recommended the land be designated as Aurora required, provided the stations did not create any adverse effects.

- mark.price@odt.co.nz

Fault

The closest mapped fault is NOT 7km away from the site, the closest fault according to QLDC's hazard map is actually mapped as passing under the proposed substation site, hence the concern for building critical infrastructure on top of a fault zone. As a country have we learned nothing from the Christchurch earthquake?