Storeys-high wind turbines might not be the first thing you think of as part of the Halifax skyline, but city officials want your input.
The city will host the first of three public meetings Monday night to get homeowners’ views on wind power.
The meeting will focus on the siting of turbines in urban locations, and stems from requests made recently of Halifax Regional Municipality, says Mayor Peter Kelly.
“We’ve had some requests to look at Burnside,” he said in an interview Thursday.
“We know there’s an interest to locate these types of facilities near the urban core so we need input from our citizens to see whether there is an appetite to accommodate them.”
Regional council has approved test sites for wind turbines, including the Otter Lake and Upper Sackville landfills, watersheds at Tomahawk Lake, Lake Major and Pockwock Lake and in an area on St. Margarets Bay.
Those are essentially rural areas with limited populations so it’s necessary to gauge public sentiment on setting up turbines in other areas, the mayor said.
A staff report says green energy is beneficial but not always welcome in a community.
“While wind energy is valued as an environmentally friendly power source, the size of the wind turbines and wind farms also raises planning issues regarding compatibility with homes from noise and impact on views, et cetera,” says the report drafted for regional council.
An attachment to the report expands on that, indicating “wind turbines often have heights comparable to 20-storey buildings which can adversely impact community esthetics and scenic landscapes and the rotating blades may cause excessive noise to neighbouring residents.”
Not surprisingly, then, the mayor says there are concerns from residential communities about setting up wind turbines in their neighbourhoods.
“We just want to make sure that wherever they go, they are complementary to the existing surroundings and not there to cause concern.”
Citizen input will help the city draft amendments to its planning strategy to prepare policies to allow the turbines to be located in HRM. So far, no policies exist.
Monday’s meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley campus, 21 Woodlawn Rd., Dartmouth, in the Sobey’s Demonstration Theatre.
There will also be meetings in Halifax and in Bedford-Lower Sackville.
By Amy Pugsley Fraser
City Hall Reporter
30 November 2007
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