Kayaking and mountain-biking enthusiasts have come out
fighting against a proposed power substation beside the Hawea
However, local farmers say the development is overdue and
will help the area prosper.
Dunedin City Council-owned Aurora Energy Ltd is seeking to
designate 1.17ha of land on Camp Hill Rd, Hawea Flat, for a
higher-capacity electricity substation.
Derek Todd, general manager asset management for Delta, which
manages and operates the Aurora electricity network, said
there was increased electricity demand in the area, primarily
from the development of dairy conversion irrigation, plus an
''incremental'' increase from residential development.
Nearly 50 submissions were received on the application,
mostly from kayakers, mountain bikers and Hawea Flat
Nearly all opposed the substation in its proposed location,
with the exception of three Hawea Flat farmers.
Opponents said the ''highly industrial'' and visually
prominent development would detract from the natural, open
character of the rural landscape and degrade the recreational
experience of the neighbouring Hawea River whitewater kayak
park and walking/cycling track.
Central Otago Whitewater Incorporated (Cow) said the
application was based on convenience and cost with little
regard for the community.
The whitewater park - funded by Contact Energy as mitigation
for its hydro-generation schemes - was a ''cherished dream''
of a group of hardworking local kayakers which took more than
a decade to achieve.
The proposed substation would undermine the integrity of the
''unique recreational resource'' and be ''grossly prominent
to the detriment of the surrounding landscape'', Cow said.
Whitewater New Zealand and the Whitewater Canoe Club objected
for the same reasons, while the Upper Clutha Environmental
Society said a much less obtrusive location was needed.
Rachel and Greig Shirley, of Wanaka, asked whether the
increased power for irrigation purposes would mean more
intensive dairy farming in the Hawea area.
In contrast, Craig Wing, of Lagoon Valley Dairies on nearby
Kane Rd, said the substation would ensure a reliable power
supply for local network users and enable more positive
economic growth for the community.
Its visual effects were expected ''in a first world country''
and therefore minimal.
Hawea Flat farmers Dougal and Bernice Innes agreed the
substation would enhance growth in the job sector and was
well overdue on an ''already overloaded system''.
James Cooper of Devon Dairy Farms - which runs a neighbouring
2300ha farm and owns the land needed for the planned
substation - said the development would assist in addressing
Devon's concerns about power availability and security of
supply for its current and future operations.
Aurora would buy the land from Mr Cooper to build the
The substation would occupy about 35% of the site and consist
of a switch room building about the size of a double garage
and high voltage electrical equipment (poles and
transformers) surrounded by a wire-mesh safety fence.
Mr Todd said Delta had taken care in the site design to
minimise the visual impact by including screen planting and
setting the substation back from the road, the Hawea River
and existing car park.
Several alternative sites had been ruled out, as the
substation needed to be located in a position that enabled
practical connections to the existing high voltage lines to
Albert Town, Lake Hawea and Hawea Flat.
Over the next year, $21 million in capital investment was
planned on the network in Central Otago and the Queenstown