The proposal to put a wind farm on the south side of Mount Hays had recreational users questioning just how the project would impact the community both now and in the future.
The city held a public hearing to amend its zoning bylaw to allow wind farms to be included as a use in the A1 zone, a zone that currently includes such uses a power lines and generating stations.
“This is to amend the bylaw to allow a wind farm on Mount Hays,” said Zeno Krekic, the city’s planner.
The project proposed by Katabatic Power that triggered the amendment includes installing 17 to 20, 80-metre-tall steel towers topped with wind turbines.
The towers will be embedded deep within the bed rock atop the mountain.
Katabatic has a 25-year power purchase agreement with B. C. Hydro for the sale of electricity produced at the site.
At the hearing, resident Larry Golden asked who would be looking after the road to the top of Mount Hays and whether the city has any guarantee that the steel towers will be removed once the project is completed.
“If these guys find they can’t make a living at this and abandon the project, then what happens?” asked Golden.
Krekic said as far as road infrastructure is concerned, the questions would have to be answered by the provincial agency, Crown Lands.
“As far as the decommissioning of the project, I really cannot comment on that,” said Krekic.
“But projects of this nature have environmental assessment that include statements about decommissioning.”
A representative from Medallion Paging was also at the session to ask how the project would impact the transmission from the company’s tower on the top of Mount Hays.
Once again, Krekic said that question would have to be answered by Katabatic.
The Mount Hays project is expected to produce 25 megawatts, an amount described as being enough to power 12,000 homes.
Jonathon Raymond, chief operating officer of Katabatic Power, said the company hopes to start construction this winter.
Specifically, Katabatic plans to start fixing certain parts of Wantage Road this winter and will construct two new sections of road to access their site. They also plan on drilling holes to determine how best to anchor the towers that will support the turbines.
The company is applying for an ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Grant from the federal government. In order to be eligible for the grant, Katabatic must file an environmental assessment of the project.
ecoEnergy for Renewable Power will provide an incentive of one cent per kilowatt-hour for up to 10 years to eligible low-impact, renewable electricity projects constructed during the four years from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 201.
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Pages one and three
27 July 2007
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