Now that the Municipality of Cumberland has put off making a decision on its controversial wind turbine bylaw all opponents of the proposed Gulf Shore project can do is wait.
“I’m glad they didn’t make a decision. That would’ve been the worst thing that could happen,” Gulf Shore resident Lisa Betts said Thursday. “They admitted themselves they haven’t had a chance to read all the information that has been submitted.”
The county had originally intended to hold the public hearing and then vote on the proposed bylaws that would regulate how close wind turbines can be to residences. However, after hearing from 20 presenters during the four-hour public hearing and receiving reams of paperwork in 31 written submissions it opted to defer its decision until May 2.
At stake is what Gulf Shore residents feel is the future of their community in light of a proposed wind farm in the area that will include between 20 to 27 wind turbines that could be as tall as 120 metres. Atlantic Wind Power plans to submit its application to Nova Scotia Power over the summer.
“We’re hoping that common sense will prevail and they’ll come up with a solution that works for everyone,” Betts said. “We’re very passionate about protecting our little piece of paradise here while we understand how passionate the company is about their project.”
Residents are concerned with how the turbines will impact property values in what is cottage country while they are also concerned about the health hazards allegedly associated with living close to a wind farm.
The county’s bylaw would have the distance between turbines and homes at three times the height of the turbine. In the Gulf Shore case it would 360 metres. Atlantic Wind is proposing extending that to 600 metres, but residents want the buffer to be at least two kilometres.
“It’s not a simple issue and the one size fits all approach won’t work here,” Betts said. “We’re hoping they’ll take the time to go through all the information that was provided and come back with something that works.”
By Darrell Cole
The Amherst Daily News
22 April 2007
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