It has been a busy few months for the Mt Cass Wind Farm project. The team continues to push the project forward, with several exciting developments underway and key milestones under their belt.
Design development is underway
At the beginning of September, AECOM NZ Ltd was appointed to develop the design for the wind farm. Their work will allow us to refine the project costs by providing more design-certainty around key areas such as civil, roading and electrical requirements.
We look forward to sharing more updates as the design progresses.
We are delighted that the Department of Conservation (DoC) has officially endorsed our Environmental Management Plan.
The plan covers how we will protect the environment, plants and species surrounding the wind farm. It includes a 127-hectare Conservation Management Area, and details how we intend to protect the plant life, wildlife and habitats over the next 50 years.
Once the plan is complete, it will be publicly available online and at locations around the region.
Looking after the lizards
We are working to protect two species of lizard that live in the area – Waitaha Geckos and Southern Grass Skinks.
While operating under a DoC Wildlife Act Authority Permit, we will soon re-commence lizard monitoring at the wind farm site. Once this is complete, we will begin relocating lizards from the construction areas to a new local habitat.
A programme of pest management has been underway since March 2020 to remove predators from the area, and allow the lizards to thrive in their new home.
Walking track extension
We recently completed designs to extend the existing Mt Cass walking track by 6km. The additional loop track will be a great resource for the community, providing an opportunity to learn about the special limestone ecology and the wind farm.
The track extension will take walkers through an area previously off-limits to the public. It will include spectacular scenery from the Mt Cass summit and traverse through incredible limestone forest and dense vegetation. A highlight of the track will be the opportunity to walk right up to operational wind turbines.
The track design has been completed in consultation with DoC and has now been approved by the Hurunui District Council. It will be opened once the wind farm construction is complete.