Both proponents and opponents of Cumberland County’s controversial bylaw regulating wind farms will have to wait another two weeks before knowing whether it will become law.
Council voted Wednesday, after hearing 18 presentations and being handed 61 briefs, to table any decision on the bylaw until May 2.
“We need time to review all of the information we have received today,” Warden Keith Hunter said in asking council to table the bylaw after hearing nearly four hours of testimony before more than 70 people who packed into the council chamber.
The bylaw will regulate the distances wind turbines must be from residences. If it is passed, it will be the first of its kind in the province. Currently, no municipality regulates the location of wind farms or turbines.
The county’s planner, Jim Coughlin, is recommending the distance between a turbine and a home be three times the turbine’s height. In the case of turbines that are 120 metres tall, such as those being suggested for a wind farm of 21 to 27 turbines proposed for the Gulf Shore near Pugwash, the setback distance would be 360 metres.
The vast majority of presentations and briefs welcomed wind power but opposed the setback being proposed by the county for a variety of reasons. Chief among those were the noise level, visual alteration of the landscape, the devaluing of property values, shadow flicker and ice being thrown from the turbine’s spinning blades.
Opponents suggested a two-kilometre setback would be more appropriate.
But about half a dozen people said the setback was more than adequate and urged council to move quickly on its bylaw in order to help the province move meet its goal of having 20 per cent of its power generated by renewable sources by 2013.
Charles Demond, president of Cobequid Area Wind Farms – the proponent of the Gulf Shore wind farm project –reiterated his position that he welcomed legislation of the location of wind farms and emphasized that a two-kilometre setback would kill the project.
All of the studies his company has undertaken have shown turbines won’t harm the environment or lower property values, he said.
By Tom McCoag
19 April 2007
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