While opponents of a proposed wind farm on the Gulf Shore may have lost a battle, they feel the war is far from over.
Moments after Cumberland County passed a bylaw setting the minimum distance between wind farms and neighbouring residences at 500 metres, Gulf Shore residents announced they will continue to fight the proposed project by appealing to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
“I’m really disappointed, we all are,” bylaw opponent Lisa Betts said. “The county has been given a ton of information. It’s been made clear it’s not a one-size fits all issue, but that’s how they voted. I really hoped common sense would have prevailed.”
Residents near Atlantic Wind Farms’ proposed project have been lobbying the county to set the distance between the turbines and their homes at two kilometres. Betts feels the public still doesn’t have all the information about the project.
Former Dartmouth city councillor Dennis Rodgers said both the county’s bylaw and the process used to pass it are flawed and he’ll be appealing the county’s decision to the utility and review board.
“I’ve been a resident down there for 36 years and have paid a lot of taxes and no one had the foresight to at least inform me that this was going behind my location,” he said.
Rodgers feels that in the rush to put regulations in place, the county neglected to consider the distance between wind turbines and schools, hospitals and roads.
He also feels the county didn’t give enough opportunity for the public to comment on the bylaw.
Gulf Shore resident Richard Gray said the county made its decision based on information from the developer saying it could not push its project back to a kilometre.
“I have a map here that shows clearly there is enough space. The road he talked about, the Irishtown Road, doesn’t have residents other than at the westernmost part near Pugwash,” Gray said. “There’s lots of space to put turbines.”
He also feels the bylaw ignores the impact of noise on nearby residents and believes the project is going to upset the economic balance along the Gulf Shore.
“We’ve had a lot of development along the Gulf Shore and this project is going to choke that off,” Gray said. “Property values are going to decrease, houses aren’t going to be build and there’ll be less tax revenue for the municipality.”
By Darrell Cole
The Amherst Daily News
2 May 2007