DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Bear Mountain area residents say they just want their voices heard as a nearby wind power project gets closer to being developed.
The Community For Responsible Wind Power formed last year to keep tabs on the proposed wind park.
The project, which would feature 60 78-metre turbines is entering the final days of the environmental assessment process. Should it receive environmental certification, preliminary work in the area could begin this fall
The project would be the first of its kind in the province to be situated so close to a populated area.
Proponent Aeolis Wind Energy said the location was chosen because it’s one of the most consistently windy parts of the province and is relatively close to B.C. Hydro’s power grid.
Garry Laveck, who lives less than a kilometre from the foot of the ridge where the turbines would be located, thinks wind power is a good idea, but `we’d just as soon not be the guinea pigs, that’s all.”
Laveck and his wife Donna, along with two kids and an assortment of animals, live on a 65-hectare plot of land at the base of Bear Mountain.
The closest turbine would be about 1.6 kilometres from their home.
“We want to be left alone, and we want to leave people alone, but this is our lives and people don’t understand that,” he said.
Along with the expected flicker and strobe effect caused by light passing through the turning rotors, the Lavecks are also worried about declining property values and sound generated by the windmills slicing through the air.
They raise horses and are unsure how the animals may respond to the low-frequency noise.
Most of the findings included in the environmental assessment application pertaining to strobe effects and sound output were reached by computer modelling. But the Lavecks fear the numbers won’t match up under real conditions, once geographic location and weather are taken into account.
The 180-day environmental assessment process was stalled for over a month (but has since been restarted), because officials from the Environmental Assessment Office wanted more information about what impact the project might have on the local bird and bat population, and, if there is a problem, how it might be mitigated.
Laveck said the welfare of animals might offer area residents their best hope of seeing the project delayed, giving them more time to make their case.
“We should at least mean as much as the birds and the bats,” he said.
By Joe Fries
Peace River Block Daily News
6 July 2007
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