Potential neighbours of a proposed wind farm near St. Joseph, Man., are raising concerns about problems the turbines could bring to their community.
Manitoba Hydro has been encouraging new wind farms across the province. The Crown utility is currently reviewing 83 proposals submitted by 17 developers in response to a request for proposals in March.
One of the proposals calls for 63 wind turbines to be installed near St. Joseph, Man., 85 kilometres south of Winnipeg. The proposed wind farm would be similar in size to a project near St. Leon, Man., that is already generating power for Manitoba Hydro.
Some people who live in St. Joseph have raised concern that the proposed wind farm could lower property values and be just plain annoying.
Todd Braun, who lives a few kilometres from St. Joseph, says he’s worried about how much noise the giant windmills will generate.
“For the most part, they’ve been shown in pictures being out in open fields where there’s no people, no homes, and here there’s many homes,” he said.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of what they’re going to be faced with, particularly noise at night time. It’s one of the main concerns that we have. People are losing sleep.”
Officials with the Rural Municipality of Montcalm say they will not allow the turbines within 180 metres of homes if the project goes ahead.
BowArk Energy – the company that hopes to build the wind farm – says it is planning 550-metre setbacks. But Braun argues the noise from the turbines could be a concern from as far as two kilometres away.
Brad Sparks, president of BowArk Energy, says the windmills won’t sound anything like a jet engine, as some critics have charged.
“I don’t want to sound too much like a salesman, but it sounds kind of like the ocean. It’s like a whoosh-shush kind of noise,” he said.
“There should not be any mechanical noise. It is a concern. Noise is an absolute concern, and we will address it for St. Joseph.”
The R.M. of Montcalm council will discuss the proposal at a meeting next week.
31 July 2007
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