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Agent: Cottage values blown away by wind  

PUGWASH – A proposed wind farm near here would hurt the area’s well-established cottage industry, a real estate agent said Thursday.

“This is cottage country and on its own it is a major industry that has resulted in property values doubling several times over in recent years, but we will see property values drop 30 to 50 per cent as soon as this project is approved,” said Peter Finley.

“I’ve already seen buyers back away from deals and I know of people who have property in the area of the wind farm who have put their (development) plans on hold. They are scared that they will not be able to enjoy their property with a wind farm in their backyard.”

Mr. Finley, owner of Mystic Coast Realty, has sold real estate on the Gulf Shore Road for 12 years. He said that in the last three weeks he has had 17 calls about properties in the area.

“I’m required by regulations to tell customers about any potential development, so I told all of them about the wind farm. Of the 17 who called, 10 declined to search further for property on the Gulf Shore specifically because of the wind farm. The other seven did not say why they stopped searching in that area.”

Since the wind project became public knowledge last November, Mr. Finley said he has had one deal close on the Gulf Shore Road and “it closed $30,000 under the appraised value of the property.”

He said he could have found three other sites for the wind farm that wouldn’t have affected the area’s vital cottage industry.

Mr. Finley was commenting a day after more than 100 people attended a meeting held by Cobequid Area Wind Farms to outline its plan to erect 21 to 27 turbines along the Gulf Shore about six kilometres from Pugwash.

The turbines would generate about 45 megawatts, enough to power 10,000 to 15,000 homes. Estimated to cost $70 million to $90 million to develop, the project still needs approval before it can proceed.

Joanne MacPherson of North Wallace owns land near the proposed site. She hoped to develop it in the future, but with the setbacks proposed in a county bylaw intended to regulate wind farms, “no development is going to take place” because she does not believe they are adequate to protect people from noise and shadow flicker.

Several others in the audience expressed similar concern about setbacks in the bylaw, believed to be the first in the province to regulate wind farms.

Already past first reading, the bylaw suggests the setback from a home should be three times the height of a turbine. In this case, the turbines are 120 metres, so the setback would be 360 metres. Most of those in the audience wanted a two-kilometre setback.

Cobequid Area Wind Farms president Charles Demond welcomed the bylaw and has promised his turbines would be no closer to homes than 500 metres.

Mr. Demond disagreed with those promoting a two-kilometre setback. He said that in Europe turbines are built much closer to homes than 360 metres without problems.

Mr. Demond has already said a two-kilometre setback would kill the project and urged those in the audience to bring their concerns about the setback to county council, which will hold a public meeting on the issue next Wednesday.

Mr. Demond also said he had not seen any data showing that development or property values had decreased as a result of a wind farm.

The project had some supporters in the crowd that packed a local church hall. Senior citizen Ralph Thompson said fears over lower property values, noise and shadow flicker were outweighed by the real problem of global warming.

“I’ve just witnessed a winter like I’ve never seen before,” Mr. Thompson said. “It showed me that this global warming is serious. We need wind power here.

By Tom McCoag
Amherst Bureau

thechronicleherald.ca

13 April 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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