The chief of Fort Folly First Nation is challenging a plan to build a wind farm near the reserve because he says NB Power and the Alberta company spearheading the project have not consulted the band.
NB Power announced a 20-year contract with Vector Wind Energy last week that would see 14 windmills built in the Fairfield Hills, near the village of Dorchester, N.B.
But Chief Joseph Knockwood says no one asked his band about the plans.
“Not only is there a duty to consult with First Nations, but there is also a duty to accommodate,” Knockwood said Wednesday. “Meaning that the private sector, companies developing projects where there may be an aboriginal title, must negotiate.”
Knockwood says the Fairfield project could impact a wind energy project the band is developing itself. The band is currently researching wind turbines and would like to take the community off the grid, selling any extra electricity to NB Power, he says.
“They do have a line that is running to the [NB Power] main line, and as I talked to Vector, they told me that there’s no other room on that line,” Knockwood said.
A representative from Vector Wind Energy said a public consultation meeting will be held next month for both Fort Folly and Dorchester to discuss public questions and concerns.
However, Chief Knockwood says the band has not been told of any meetings.
8 March 2007
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