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Windmill proposal was ‘mistake’, says Gabriola Land Conservancy  

It was all a mistake, say Gabriola Islanders of a proposal to put windmills on some Gabriola parkland.

“It’s an unfortunate misunderstanding,” says Leigh Anne Milman, Gabriola Land Conservancy president, of Zero Emissions Development’s proposal for a wind farm to generate electricity for B.C. Hydro from Gabriola Community Park, otherwise known as 707 Lands.

The proposal made it all the way to the Regional District of Nanaimo, which is now looking into the allowed uses under existing zoning for the land, located roughly in the middle of the island.

But Milman said the proposal never should have made it that far, and wouldn’t have, had a park planning process happened.

That’s what islanders expected, after ownership of the land was transferred to the Regional District of Nanaimo in 2005.

“We thought at the time of the transfer the planning process would happen, but the budget didn’t allow for it.”

It fell by the wayside, and in the interim, the industrial wind farm application was made to the RDN.

Milman said she expects the problem to soon sort itself out.

Paul Thorkelsson, RDN development services manager, agrees.

He said while the RDN is obliged to check the zoning on the land, the fact that the Islands Trust has the final say on land use essentially kills the application.

“I understand the Islands Trust came out quite vociferously against wind farms,” Thorkelsson said.

“I suspect the idea of a wind farm on the 707 Lands is dead.”

Milman said plans are in the works to write a covenant clearly spelling out allowable uses on the land, to avoid future repeats of the mixup.

Darrell Bellaart

Nanaimo Daily News

17 May 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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