UPPER NAPPAN ““ Cumberland County is putting off a decision on its proposed wind turbine bylaw until next month so it can go through reams of information provided by presenters during a public hearing here Wednesday.
“We’ve decided to hold off so our planner will have the time to assemble the information that was given to us at the 11th hour,” Warden Keith Hunter said. “We have a meeting on May 2 and we’ll take a final vote on the bylaw at that time.”
While the county originally planned to vote on the matter immediately following the hearing, Hunter said there was simply too much information to make a decision at that time. Instead, planner Jim Coughlin will have the time to go through the information provided by 19 presenters as well as 31 written submissions.
Of those who appeared before council, most spoke against the proposed wind farm project on the Gulf Shore Road saying it will lower property values, change the landscape and affect people’s health.
Dennis Rodgers of Dartmouth, who owns property near the proposed windfarm, said the project would serious impact upon cottage and residential development in the area.
“Take a look along the Gulf Shore and you will see progress not seen in most other parts of the county. You will find golf courses, multi-million-dollar resort villages and houses valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Rodgers said. “Most of these high end developments have appeared in the past five to 10 years. The Gulf Shore is in transformation, its life cycle is shining brightly and if not plagued by unsightly and noisy developments, it will become one of the highest tax revenue areas per capita in the county.”
Rodgers feels allowing the project to go ahead with the proposed setbacks would chase people away and would end up hurting the county in reduced tax revenues.
Bert Powell of Toronto, whose grandmother lives on the Gulf Shore, feels there is a solution that would not pit residents against project proponents. He just feels all parties must take the time to find that win-win solution.
Carol Roach said more study is needed before the county rushes forward with its bylaws and suggested it could be opening itself up for litigation should it proceed without taking residents’ concerns seriously.
She’s concerned the proposal was brought forward when many property owners were out of the area and unable to voice their concerns.
Lisa Betts, who has led the fight against the proposed development, told council that residents are fighting for their lifestyle while the company is fighting for its project. Still, she feels there is room to move and believes the wind turbines and residences can co-exist as long as their sufficient space.
Atlantic Wind Power president Charles Demond said his company has attempted to be open with the community through a series of public meetings, including two more in May and another in July.
When considering his company’s proposal, he urged people to cut through the misinformation and make their decisions on the facts.
“We feel we can go to sleep at night and feel that we’re absolutely not harming anyone,” Demond said, calling on the county to do what’s best for the county. “A lot of the comments have been negative today but we’re aware of many other people who favour this project.”
Robert Leth of Breton Windworks feels the setbacks proposed by the county’s bylaw are doable and cautioned putting off a decision for a prolonged period of time or increasing the distance between the turbines and homes.
By Darrell Cole
The Amherst Daily News
18 April 2007
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