Aurora gains approval for Wanaka substation

Growing electricity demand in the Wanaka area will be met by a new substation to be established on an old Queenstown Lakes District Council-owned stone quarry.

Aurora Energy Ltd has been given approval for an electricity switching/substation on 5390sq m on the corner of Ballantyne and Riverside Rds, next to the council's dog pound.

After the proposal was publicly notified in September, six local submitters raised concerns about the development, namely its proximity to earthquake fault lines and its possible adverse effects including noise, electromagnetic fields, loss of landscape amenity values and contamination of groundwater.

The Dunedin-based lines company said the substation was necessary to cope with increased demand in the Upper Clutha, particularly in Wanaka, and presented its case to independent commissioner Jane Taylor and Cr Cath Gilmour at a hearing in Wanaka in December.

Aurora said the site was chosen because it was located at the crossing point of one of the 66kV lines from Cromwell and the lines to the Cardrona and Maungawera substations.

It sat in a hollow where the old quarry was and therefore had a lower visual impact, yet was high enough above the river to avoid a major flooding risk.

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

In confirming the notice of requirement for the application, the commissioners made a series of conditions.

These included requiring Aurora to: plant a boundary hedge or shelter belt along the Ballantyne and Riverbank Rd frontages, offer to provide the council with plants for a line of screening vegetation on the site's southwestern terrace, comply with set noise limits and ensure buildings used neutral colours and had low reflectivity.

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