Aurora Energy is offering an improved landscaping plan and
less reflective paint for an electricity substation it wants
to build near the Hawea Whitewater Park in Camphill Rd, Hawea
Hawea River kayakers and mountain bikers were among those who
made submissions against the Dunedin City Council-owned
energy company's proposal at a notice of requirement hearing
on July 24.
For the two kayaking organisations, landscape architect Anne
Steven submitted the substation was an ''industrial-type''
facility that would be visible from the river corridor and
silhouetted against the sky.
''This would compromise the natural and open characteristics
of the river margins.''
She considered the substation would detract from the ambience
of the river corridor and would impact on the recreational
enjoyment of the whitewater park.
''It is not possible to mitigate the substation in this
location and to ensure that it is in harmony with the
Low-level planting might ''soften the edges'' but would do
nothing to limit the impact of ''the bulk, height and density
of the structures and associated lighting''.
She called for Aurora to find an alternative site.
On Friday, Aurora responded to points raised at the hearing
with a right-of-reply by counsel Bridget Irving.
Ms Irving pointed out the site for the substation was not
within the ''outstanding natural feature'' of the river or
the river landscape.
She submitted a court decision about wind turbines visible
from within the National Park and Rangipo Desert was
The court in that case said: ''We do not consider that
visibility of itself is an adverse effect.''
The court considered the sight of the turbines would not
diminish ''the quality of the outstanding features and
landscapes within the park or diminish the experience of
visitors to them''.
Ms Irving submitted the same conclusion could be drawn about
''Whilst people may be able to see parts of the proposed
development from the river and its margins, this is not an
adverse effect in and of itself.''
In response to submissions presented at the hearing, Aurora
had engaged a specialist in revegetation and revised its
''Aurora is offering a comprehensive suite of performance
standards to ensure that the desired level of screening is
achieved within a reasonable time frame,'' Ms Irving said.
It had also ''reconsidered'' its position on a shelter belt
and was offering to minimise the reflectivity of support
structures for high voltage equipment, which were the main
visual elements within the yard.
Ms Irving said the substation would have positive effects for
the Hawea area and although the council could set conditions,
it could not decline consent for the substation.