While not opposed to the expansion of a windfarm atop Higgins Mountain, Wentworth area residents are hoping project proponents, 3G Energy Corp., will adjust its plans to address community concerns.
The Wentworth Community Development Council held a meeting at the fire hall earlier this week to discuss the plan to add 66 turbines to the three already on Higgins Mountain and to hear from part-time resident Peter Bigelow, who gave a presentation on the pros and cons of living near windfarms.
Area county councillor Kathy Redmond said the meeting included a good flow of information from members of the community, the development council and Janis Rod – an environmental consultant for 3G Energy.
“I thought it was a productive and informative meeting,” Redmond said. “People aren’t opposed to windmills, they just don’t want them to interfere with the community.”
At issue are some proposed turbines near the Station Road the community feels may impact walking and hiking trails that have been there for 40 years or more.
Concerns have also been raised over how a windfarm the size of the one proposed for Higgins Mountain may impact the lone major employer in the area, Ski Wentworth.
“There are some concerns about shadow flicker and how something of that size across from the ski hill could impact skiers,” she said.
Redmond said the community is hoping to open a dialog with 3G Energy so that location of some of the turbines can be adjusted further away from affected areas such as people’s homes and cabins near the proposed project site.
She’s optimistic 3G will be willing to work with the community to address its concerns, but she still feels it’s up to the province to set a standard for setbacks so there isn’t a patchwork of regulations across the province that may pit one municipality against another.
“The province should be taking the lead on this, not leaving it up to municipalities,” she said. “There have to be rules for everyone in the province to follow. This is bigger than setting land-use bylaws.”
By Darrell Cole
6 November 2007
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