Outlining one of the most comprehensive public information programs conducted by any wind farm developer in Australia, Trustpower Business Development Manager Rodney Ahern stressed the importance of making sure people in the community had access to full and accurate information concerning the wind farm.
"We do things differently to other companies in that we engage early in the process to get stakeholders' input into the actual design and shape of the project before putting in the planning approval," he said.
"We like to have ironed out as many of the issues as we can first, which minimises the number of people having to use the formal process to get heard. Ultimately, we adjust and adapt to meet as many concerns as we can."
More than 80 people attended the first information day held on October 16 at Palmer.
The next two information days, which will include additional detail about the project, will take place at Palmer on Friday November 1, from 3-8pm, and on Saturday November 2 from 9am-12 noon.
The information days will then be followed by a series of workshops at which local residents will be encouraged to raise any issues that concern them and to provide suggestions that would improve the wind farm design and management.
The workshops will also address any misinformation put out by wind farm opponents.
"We’re already seeing instances of serious misinformation being bandied about," Mr Ahern said. "One is the claim that the landowners who agree to be part of the wind farm project are then gagged from making any critical comments about wind farms.
"This is totally incorrect. Our agreements categorically don’t prevent any landowner from expressing whatever view they like about wind farms. On the contrary, we expect full and free communication with all parties involved."
Members of the local community are invited to register to attend any of the workshops to explore any issues and learn about the benefits of the proposed Palmer Wind Farm.
There will be three identical workshops to allow maximum participation by the community. Participants will be asked to register for their preferred workshop session.
The workshops will be held in Palmer from12 noon-3pm and 6-9pm on Thursday 7 November, and from 10am-1pm on Friday 8 November 2013.
Please contact Trustpower on 1800 648 690 to register your interest to attend the workshop. More details on the consultation process can be found on the website www.trustpower.co.nz/palmerwindfarm which will be updated regularly.
The Mid Murray Council Development Assessment Panel (CDAP) will be the approval authority for the Palmer Wind Farm development application.
It is envisaged the planning application will be lodged following an extensive community consultation process towards the end of 2013.