The city hopes to whip up interest in wind energy through a series of public meetings over the next month.
“There has been very little discussion about this,” Coun. Brad Johns (Middle and Upper Sackville, Lucasville) admitted Wednesday.
“And I think that’s part of why we are going out to do this, just to inform people.”
City hall plans to draft new policy and regulations for placing windmills in rural areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and it has a few test sites, like landfills and watersheds, under consideration.
The municipality needs amendments to its planning strategy to allow the turbines because no such policy exists.
The area proposed in Mr. Johns’ district as a possible test site for the 20-storey windmills is the Sackville landfill.
It’s a good choice, he said.
“They are going to be high, and so you’ll probably see them and hear them, but . . . there aren’t any residents near there, so I don’t think that is going to be an issue with anyone.”
If the wind turbines do end up there, Mr. Johns said, he’d like residents in his district to benefit from the clean energy.
“If they decide to use the old landfill as a site for the new turbines, I want them to look at negotiating a percentage of money or power,” he said.
“If you’re going to do something, why not negotiate it to benefit the local community that you are doing it in?”
Another councillor whose district is targeted for turbines said the two watersheds chosen as test sites would work out well.
“They are not close to anyone at all,” Coun. Gary Meade (Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets) said of the areas alongside Lake Tomahawk and Lake Pockwock.
Mr. Meade said he hasn’t had one phone call about the introduction of a form of renewable energy into his district and he couldn’t imagine anyone getting upset.
“It’s better than burning gas or burning oil,” he said, noting that the turbines don’t pollute the environment.
Another councillor said Halifax, especially its rural areas, should embrace wind energy.
“I’m optimistic that this will provide some economic development opportunities for the rural parts of HRM,” Coun. Steve Streatch (Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit Valley) said Wednesday.
He said he has always thought wind turbines belong in the countryside, “where they are not going to be as intrusive in people’s lives or as obnoxious in certain types of communities.”
“Farming, whether it be wind farming or traditional farming, usually is done in areas that are not as highly populated, so I see great opportunities for rural parts – especially the eastern side of HRM that I represent – to take advantage of this type of thing.”
Mr. Streatch is hopeful that the public will take part in the meetings, to be held in various locations today through April 30.
“If people really believe in this, then they need to come out and say they’re interested in investing in this kind of technology.”
By Amy Pugsley Fraser
22 March 2007
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