People can co-exist with wind farms, but only if there’s sufficient space between them.
Lisa Betts doesn’t think that’s the case with a proposed wind farm along the Gulf Shore and she’s urging Cumberland County to take another look at a proposed bylaw that would require 300 per cent separation between turbines and residences.
“That’s not even close to enough. It should be two kilometres,” Betts said. “We’ve got to have the county set these things back enough that they don’t bother anybody, whether it’s a cottager or if they’re sitting trying to do lessons in schools or if they are a young family. This county’s big enough for both of us, but this particular one just seems so wrong.”
At issue is a proposed wind farm near her home that could see the erection of 20 to 27 turbines.
“What they’re proposing is too close,” she said. “They’re talking three times the height. I’m talking about at least 10 times the height or two kilometres. Personally, I’d like them to go further away than that, but I could live and be healthy living at two kilometres.”
Betts, who has established a blog (pugwashwindfarm.blogspot.com), will make her case to county council today when it holds its first April session.
She is not only concerned with the noise emitted from the turbines but is worried about shadow flicker and the effect the turbines’ infrasound might have on her health.
“It’s a noise that never goes away and there’s different kinds of noise. There’s the noise from the gears and there’s a woosh, woosh, woosh as the blades go past the tower,” she said.
She’s also worried of the potential health effects of proximity to high voltage power lines, the possibility of ice being thrown from the blades, injuries to birds and bats flying into the blades or the possibility the blades could fail and be thrown from the turbines.
Betts said there hasn’t been enough study on the proximity of wind farms to residences and suggested the county shouldn’t be too quick to put setbacks in place that are far too short.
“It’s sort of like the Emporer’s New Clothes. Everyone thought his new clothes were wonderful except for one little boy. We really don’t know enough about these things and then to put them so close to people, I just don’t know it’s such a good idea,” she said. “There are studies that need to be done. If they’re unable to do them, they should find someone who can.”
The county is expected to vote on the new bylaw on April 18.
The Amherst Daily News
3 April 2007
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