Opponents of a proposed wind farm near Pugwash are fearful of what could happen should the Municipality of Cumberland move forward with bylaws setting the minimum distance between turbines and homes.
The county is expected to make a decision on its proposed wind turbine bylaw at its first May session here today. It is proposing setting the distance at three times the turbine height while opponents feel the distance should be two kilometres.
Opponents fear that by passing the land-use bylaw the county will omit the public from any future discussions when it comes to locating wind farms within the county.
“Public consultation is one of the most sacred principles of democracy, particularly at the grassroots level, our municipal councils, and this is what the proposed amendment will take from every resident in the county,” Dartmouth resident and former city councillor Dennis Rodgers said in a letter to the county.
Rogers owns property in the Gulf Shore area where Atlantic Wind Power Corporation hopes to erect 20 to 27 wind turbines. It is proposing a setback of 500 metres, or half a kilometre.
Rodgers fears the county is attempting to take away the rights of the public to open and due process by amending the bylaws to circumvent the current Municipal Planning Strategy. He feels that by changing the bylaw, developers wanting to install a wind farm in the county won’t have to hold public consultations as long as the project meets the criteria set out in the bylaw.
“This would mean that the usual rights of the public for access to the process of a public hearing pertaining to wind farm development will no longer exist,” Rodgers said, adding the current staff recommendation is developer friendly and errs on the side of the developers, not on the side of residents.
By Darrell Cole
The Amherst Daily News
1 May 2007
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