Over the past several months there have been three notices in The Citizen regarding use of provincial lands for installation of monitoring towers to investigate the potential of wind energy.
There have been similar notices in Vanderhoof for additional lands in that area.
Taken individually, these seem not too intrusive, but cumulatively, looking at the big picture, the possibility of having one big wind farm, stretching from the south side of Cluculz Lake over to the area between Bednesti and Dahl Lakes, then across Highway 16 from Cobb Lake to Eskers Provincial Park – alarm bells start going off. I would like to embrace the concept of wind energy but I am really concerned with regards to the impact these possible installations may have on both resident and migratory birds.
This is a huge swath of land between Vanderhoof and Prince George. Vanderhoof is a well-established resting area for migratory birds. Are any of these proposals within migratory bird flight paths? Who has this information? If this information is not available, who will get it prior to the wind studies being completed and wind power installations being granted the right to develop in these locations? Does anybody care?
In the U.S., both by choice and as a result of litigation, some wind energy companies are no longer installing wind turbines around or near migratory bird flight paths. Consideration is also given as to the height of the towers and the height that the migratory birds usually fly in these areas. Who is going to study this in relation to these applications or if these gestures actually work?
I am proposing that a condition of these licenses be that the applicants work with bird specialists (i.e. Ducks Unlimited, the Audubon Society, UNBC) during the course of their investigative tenure on these lands to include avian studies so that plans can be implemented to mitigate the impact on resident and migratory birds.
Would it not be possible for the Province of British Columbia to try something new and have the wind energy industry and environmental academics work together on these initial investigative/planning stages to come up with proposals that would allow wind energy to proceed with minimal impact of resident and migratory birds?
— Gina Beddome
7 February 2008
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