CLEAR SPRINGS – Residents opposed to a new windmill farm here say those who favoured the project at a recent public meeting don’t even live in the area.
“They have a right to their opinions, but they are not the people who are going to have to live with all the issues that accompany this project,” said Jack MacDonald, who attended the public meeting in St. Margaret’s, near Souris, earlier this week, and whose north shore property will be affected.
Bill Robinson would agree. He lives in the Boston area and couldn’t attend the meeting. But he’s dead set against the proposed 30-megawatt wind project that will shadow his property where his wife and children spend the summer.
“These windmills will be a blight on the landscape, only resulting in higher electricity prices,’’ he said in an email. “The community is against this project.”
The public meeting in a church hall was packed and the majority of those voicing a public opinion favoured the development and generated substantial applause. However, those opposed to the wind farm say the majority of voices endorsing the project came from outside the affected area and won’t see or ever hear the turbines in action.
“The reality is that there were very few people in attendance from Hermanville and Clear Springs,’’ MacDonald told The Guardian. “This is because most landowners of those communities were not notified of the meeting.”
Those opposed to the wind farm cite health risks, the desire to wait for the results of a pending Health Canada study, and the intrusion of noise to the peace and quiet of their properties.
This would be the second wind farm in northeastern P.E.I. if approved. Those for it welcome the development and investment in the region. MacDonald questioned Finance Minister Wes Sheridan why all residents weren’t contacted to attend the public meeting.
The minister said it was advertised and government wasn’t responsible for contacting every summer resident from outside the province who might have a cottage in the area.
“But you have no problem sending me my tax bill,’’ shot back MacDonald in the packed hall.
Robinson, who owns 62 acres just north of the proposed site, said the project is being “fast tracked” due to equipment procurement commitments by the government. However, Sheridan said no turbines have been purchased and he was hosting public meetings, including an environmental assessment gathering, to provide ample public input.
“I will pursue all legal options concerning health risks to the community caused by these machines,” insisted Robinson.