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Prince wind farm 'gawkers' could cause catastrophe  

A lookout onto Brookfield Power’s Prince Wind Energy Project deemed solution

A lookout onto Canada’s biggest wind farm might not only draw tourists to Prince Township, says the community’s economic development officer – it might just save lives.

Interest in Brookfield Power’s Prince Wind Energy Project is such that some people are stopping in the middle of Maki and Red Rock roads leading to the wind farm and impeding residential and logging traffic.

The practice is “hindering the use of the road for a lot of the residents, which can get to a point that’s hazardous,” Margaret Lacourciere said Thursday.

“People are definitely worried there’s going to be an accident.”

Some spots have room for a turnoff “but in the summer those fill up pretty quickly,” Lacourciere said.

Last summer’s Fun Day, in which 550 people were bused up to the Brookfield Power’s Prince Wind Energy Project, only whetted appetites of would-be gawkers.

“Every single bus was full, and we only had one day, and after that people got wind of it and asked if it was going to happen again, whether this was going to be a regular thing. So that’s what sparked us starting to talk about the possibility of building perhaps a permanent location where people could go see it and make it kind of a tourist attraction for Prince Township.”

Brookfield’s general manager for Ontario wind operations, Jim Deluzio, confirmed the company receives a “regular” stream of traffic at its Second Line West offices.

Deluzio welcomed an area where people could gaze out at Brookfield’s Prince Wind Energy’s 118 turbines atop football field-sized towers. He acknowledged that stopped vehicles on the road “has been a concern,” and added a lookout could also act as an educational tool. “It would give people the ability to see the wind farm and provide an opportunity for educational displays about wind energy,” said Deluzio, who met with Lacourciere, a Prince councillor and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie earlier this month.

The township’s latest strategic plan has three key goals, including building up business, “and one of the best ways to attract businesses is to attract more residents and more tourism, because if there are more tourists coming to the area, they’re going to want to want to spend money on gift shops, restaurants and possibly overnight stays,” Lacourciere said.

She stressed the idea is very preliminary.

By Frank Dobrovnik

The Sault Star

7 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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