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Turbines hazardous to wildlife habitat, Milner says

An Amherst area resident is continuing his fight to stop a proposed wind farm on the marsh near the town.

Jim Milner, who lives on the John Black Road, is preparing a submission to the project environmental assessment claiming that its existence threatens the future of the John Lusby Marsh as a wildlife habitat.

“Wildlife is the property of the Crown so it is the duty of the province to protect wildlife, not sell to the lowest proponent bidder,” Milner said in his submission.

“Environment Canada is responsible for preserving and enhancing the quality of the natural environment and it needs to be respected, protected and conserved. These areas must be avoided for the use of turbines.”

Earlier this month, Nova Scotia Power and Accionia Energy announced plans to construct a 20-turbine windfarm on the marsh near Exit 3 of the Trans-Canada Highway. Construction is expected to begin next April and be operational as early as five months later.

Milner said the process is flawed because studies surrounding migratory bird paths were not conducted during peak periods and suggests the province ignored potential adverse affects on the John Lusby Marsh.

“How can a proponent demonstrate that there are no significant adverse disturbances on the John Lusby Marsh? If so, put up a bond to prove it,” he said, questioning how negative impacts to the eco-system and the marsh can be avoided.

Milner said the marsh area and the LaPlanche River receive high numbers of migratory birds every year. It’s his believe that giant turbines and spinning blades will change migratory patterns and threaten the birds themselves.

He’s also not convinced with claims that shadow flicker will be minimized on both motorists on the nearby highway and in the town, which is a few kilometres from the site. He also believes the county’s siting guidelines are flawed because the minimum setback of 500 metres or three times the turbine high only applies to homes.

This is not Milner’s first time fighting the project. Several years ago he took the original project to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board causing a delay that indirectly led to its abandonment after capital costs went up.

The deadline for environmental submissions is Thursday.

By Darrell Cole

The Amherst Daily News

13 May 2008