About 120 permits will be suspended for the Turitea Water Catchment Reserve for about two years while Mercury’s windfarm is built.
Palmerston North City Council is contacting permit holders and asking them to return their keys. Bonds will be refunded.
Turbine construction will initially be in the northern part of Turitea Reserve and along South Range Road. However, contractors could be traversing the full length of the access track through the reserve to build the transmission line to Linton.
During construction, a significant number of people will be on site. Work will potentially take place seven days a week, with contractors accessing the reserve by land or helicopter.
Manager of Parks and Reserves Kathy Dever-Tod says the Council weighed up the pros and cons of allowing hunting to continue during construction but deemed the safety risk too high.
“We know our hunters love this area, and they provide a great service for us in terms of pest control. But we need to ensure everyone on reserve land is safe, and that includes both hunters and contractors. For that reason, we have decided to suspend licences during the windfarm’s construction.”
She says there are other hunting opportunities available in Tararua and Ruahine Forest Parks if people apply for permits through the Department of Conservation.
The suspension for the Water Catchment Reserve starts on Monday 12 August. The lock on the gate at the end of South Range Road will be changed when construction begins. There will be no access permitted past the gate, or directly into the reserve from South Range Road.
Council will work with a pest control contractor to carry out possum, predator and deer control during the windfarm construction period. Our contractor will be in regular contact with Mercury and its teams on the ground to safely coordinate their activities.