It is official. Pincher Creekers fully support the wind energy developments in the municipal district and many are not opposed to seeing more.
Some 91 per cent of ratepayers in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek say that they approve of the wind energy developments in the MD and 62 per cent said that they did not have any concerns over the number of turbines in the area. The figures come fresh out of a new survey commissioned by council earlier in the year.
In the survey, which was mailed out to some 500 MD ratepayers, people were asked to give their comments on what they thought about the development of the wind industry in the area. Just under 50 per cent of those given a survey, responded.
Comments ranged from “We have one of the most beautiful areas in the province, why litter it with unsightly windmills?” to “I think they are beautiful and powerful.”
Respondents also gave some indication as to where they would like to see wind energy developments avoided in the municipality. Most commonly people wanted to avoid development west of Pincher Creek, along the Waterton corridor and on scenic and recreation areas.
As part of the survey, industry players were also questioned on how they thought the wind industry should develop in the municipality. They indicated that they would like to see future developments east of Highway 6 towards Twin Butte.
Industry said that it would also like to see further support from council particularly in the face of the increasing barriers from transmission line developers and government.
Council must now decide how to use this survey to direct its wind energy development policy.
So far they have held four community meetings, in town, Lundbreck, Twin Butte and Summerview, and have been gathering feedback from the community on the results from the survey.
The survey on wind developments was conducted in accordance with a resolution passed by a previous council, which stated that the municipal district must conduct a review of development in the area once it had given approval for 450 wind turbines or 300 turbines had been constructed. While the MD has just 187 turbines constructed and another 118 approved, council decided to bring forward the review in the face of the number of pending applications and the delay in the construction of a new transmission line between Pincher Creek and Lethbridge. The delay has halted the construction of several approved windfarms because of the lack of capacity to transport the power.
By Jocelyn Mercer
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