Increasing the distance between wind turbines and residences to two kilometres would effectively end the development of a proposed windfarm on the Gulf Shore.
“Without question if the municipality enacted bylaws requiring two kilometres we would simply just terminate further work on the project,” Atlantic Wind Power Corporation president Charles Demond said after speaking to Cumberland municipal council. “Two kilometres would be at the absolute extreme of anything that’s being contemplated around the globe.”
While the project is still in the development phase, the company hopes to erect 20 to 27 wind turbines on the Gulf Shore near the Irishtown Road. The company is holding an open house in Pugwash on April 11.
Cumberland County is in the process of regulating wind turbines and has proposed a setback of three times a turbine’s height. It could be in a position to pass its bylaw on April 18.
“It seems to me as though what the municipality is proposing is sensible, but we as a company have gone one step further by saying these will be 500 metres from any existing residence,” Demond said, adding the county would be the first to regulate wind turbines.
Gulf Shore resident Lisa Betts, who also appeared before council, urged the municipality to take a long look at its setback requirements and to give consideration to factors such as noise, health and environmental impact.
“Virtually all my life I have been involved in the environmental movement and I’m very pro-Green. My problem is the setback distance. It should be a lot further than what’s being proposed,” Betts said. “People just don’t know what the issue is. The wind energy companies have presented their case for years and it has been politically incorrect to challenge. There are problems popping up and that’s why it’s important for that information to come out.”
Demond said there aren’t such stringent setbacks for highways, airports, factories or industrial developments and can’t understand why there should be such a large distance between turbines and homes.
“I don’t want to be butting heads with people, but it is frustrating that so many things that are largely irrelevant are raised as issues such as high voltage cables, bird kills and infrasound. They’re not issues,” Demond said. “What it comes down to is how close do you want it and what’s an acceptable level of sound. We believe we’ve addressed that.”
By Darrell Cole
The Amherst Daily News
4 April 2007