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Proposed wind farm prompts setback, property concerns

PUGWASH – With a deadline fast approaching for County council to decide on a current wind turbine bylaw proposal, residents surrounding the Pugwash Wind Farm development site are asking council to reconsider.

During an open house Wednesday night to provide information about the project, more than one concerned citizen voiced their opinion on next week’s deadline regarding the setback of wind turbines from residences.

Currently there are no bylaws pertaining to the setback from wind turbines from residences in Cumberland County. Council is proposing, however, that a distance three times the height of the turbine be in place.

Residents want more – more distance and more time.

“Let’s assume that council makes a decision to pass the bylaw that’s proposed as of today, any other input you have with us in terms of trying to defend, not defend or help you is basically bypassed by passing that bylaw,” said one local resident to Charles Demond, president of Atlantic Wind Power Corporation. “I see very little time for people to have any input to the councillors to make their desires felt or to express their reasons why they may not want it or want it.”

Local real estate business owner Peter Finley says the setbacks should be a whole lot further than what’s being proposed.

“Our major economic generator is our cottage industry. It employs more people that I can count, and it produces tax revenues that, every year are going up and up and up,” he said.

“We’ll see property values drop from 30 to 50 per cent just as soon as this wind farm project is approved. We’re already seeing those values deteriorate.”

While there are no bylaws regarding setbacks from residences, the county has a proposal of three times the height of the turbine.

Lisa Betts, a local resident who has been voicing her opinions via a weblog, says that if the county doesn’t write a good bylaw, then other counties will look at Cumberland County and adopt the same bylaw as theirs.

She would like to see a setback of at least two kilometres from any residence.

By Raissa Tetanish
The Amherst Daily News


12 April 2007