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Time to harvest the wind, councillors agree

A greener energy source could be blowing in the wind, regional council agreed Tuesday night.

Almost every councillor wanted to speak about wind turbine farms and all were congratulating staff on bringing the topic forward.

The city needs to amend its planning strategy to prepare policies to allow the turbines to be located in the municipality.

However, investigating the possibility of the renewable energy source will take about 15 months, council learned.

HRM staffer Shayne Vipond told council that the first phase of the study will take about six months. It will look into the suitability of six proposed locations, including the Otter Lake and Sackville landfills; watersheds at Tomahawk, Lake Major and Pockwock lakes, and the Western Common in St. Margarets Bay.

The next stage, which will investigate having the turbines in urban/suburban areas and also include public consultation, will take a further nine months.

One councillor said she’s prepared to wait for the clean energy because it benefits the environment and the economy.

“I’d love to see an offshore wind farm, but we have to take baby steps,” Coun. Linda Mosher (Purcell’s Cove-Armdale) said.

Coun. David Hendsbee (Preston-Lawrencetown-Chezzetcook) voiced concern over the possibility of seeing mini-wind turbines, like home satellite dishes, popping up all over.

“What if every home put one up?”

Mr. Vipond said that since no municipal regulations are in place, staff will have some recommendations after information is compelled during the study.

“There is still some research that needs to be done on other applications of that technology in an urban setting,” he said.

Coun. Jim Smith (Albro Lake-Harbourview) said he would like city hall to approve any wind turbines.

“It’s going to be important that council has some control on it, and that the people who live around them have a say in how they’re being constructed and where they go.”

While many residents will applaud the use of the renewable energy, one councillor pointed out that the actual turbines, and their accompanying noise, might not be as welcome.

“With everything that’s great also comes some cautions,” Coun. Patrick Murphy (Halifax North End) said.

By Amy Pugsley Fraser, City Hall Reporter