Wind farm developer responds to residents’ objections

Following St Francis Chronicle’s feature on residents objecting to the proposed Kromme River wind farm development,  it has transpired that other residents in St Francis had also objected to other wind farms being developed, including the Oyster Bay wind farm.

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The Oyster Bay wind farm, intends to use the St Francis-Oyster Bay road for their heavy transport if and when the development goes ahead.   Four residents at least ( Lynn Slogrove, Jenny Barwood, Renee Botha and Michelle Strydom) sent letters to  RES Southern Africa, objecting to this. Yesterday they received the following response in a letter from Duncan Ayling, Head of Development, RES Southern Africa on behalf of Savannah Environmental:

“Thank you for submitting your concerns into the public consultation process for the RES Southern Africa  Oyster Bay wind energy project. I hope that I can assure you that RES Southern Africa will, at all times, attempt to minimise disruption to the local residents of St Francis Bay whilst at the same time delivering the project to Oyster Bay and bringing the associated benefits to the local community in that area.

I agree that over 400 heavy vehicles will have an impact on the road and on traffic congestion, however this is over a probable 2 year time period and so averages approximately 4 abnormal heavy loads per week.

RES Southern Africa will therefore be able to contract these deliveries so that they avoid passing by St Francis Bay at busy times of day. We undertake to consult with you and other residents to agree on times to be avoided.

Although the road is currently in a poor state of repair, RES Southern Africa will be required to enter agreements with the roads authorities to ensure the roads are upgraded and reinforced so that they can support the heavy traffic safely. Any damage caused by RES Southern Africa use of the roads will be repaired quickly and efficiently at our cost.

RES Southern Africa identified that traffic near St Francis Bay may bring concern to the residents and so we have already spent extra time identifying an alternative route which approaches Oyster Bay from the West. This Western approach is significantly longer and involves some difficult pinch-points where manoeuvring long blades around corners would be very difficult.

The route survey, contracted by RES Southern Africa, assessed both route options and identified the approach from the East that passes near St Francis Bay to be shorter and more efficient. At this point in time RES Southern Africa would like to keep both routes available as options.

If Department for Environmental Affairs environmental authorisation is granted, and the project is successful in bidding for allocation from the Department of Energy, and all other permits are secured, then construction could start in mid 2013 at the earliest. At that time a new route survey would be needed prior to road
strengthening and subsequent commencement of the delivery of materials and components. It is also at this time that we would re-consult the local residents to agree on delivery times to be avoided, as mentioned.

RES Southern Africa is a responsible and experienced family owned company who have been sustainably developing wind energy projects for over 25 years. We very much hope that, through ongoing communication and respectful consideration of concerns, the RES Southern Africa Oyster Bay project can have the support of the residents of St Francis Bay and other local villages.

Please do not hesitate to contact Savannah Environmental or myself should you have any further questions or concerns.”

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