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Group wants CBRM to rescind zoning amendment for Lake Uist project  

RED ISLANDS – Residents concerned about a proposed hydro-wind energy project will be calling on officials to change their plans.

During a meeting of the Save the Grand River Watershed committee Saturday, members discussed three ways to protect area wetlands from the project’s potential impacts.

“We passed a resolution to send a letter strongly urging the CBRM council to rescind amendment G-937, which rezoned Loch Lomond for hydro-electric facilities,” said committee chair Maury McCrillis.

“We also intend to draft a letter to the proponent strongly urging that it relocate the hydro portion of the project out of Loch Lomond.”

More than 60 people attended the meeting, with seven more people signed in as committee members, taking the group number to 40.

McCrillis said the committee originally formed in May in response to Cape Breton Explorations Ltd.’s attempts to form a community liaison committee.

“Certainly the proponent had the opportunity to provide all the relevant information at three open houses. We can keep asking the same questions,” he said.

The committee will also be requesting more information to clarify the relationship between Cape Breton Explorations Ltd. and Nova Scotia Power.

They plan to hold more meetings and hope to ask a representative from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans if the government intends to grant the proponent a waiver under its harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat provision.

“We’d like to see the hydro portion of the project moved because the uplands areas in the Loch Lomond mountains are wetland areas. We believe there are too many health concerns associated with undertaking this kind of experimental project in this area. We’re also concerned about safety issues which we don’t feel have been addressed,” McCrillis said.

A proposed 200-megawatt hybrid wind hydro-power development, the Lake Uist project would feed wind-generated power from 44 wind turbines directly into a electrical power grid during the day when demand is high. At night, during off hours, the wind turbines would supply power to pump water from Lake Uist through a buried penstock to a reservoir three kilometres away and more than 100 metres higher. Pumped water would later flow back down the penstock to drive turbines producing more electricity before dispersing into the lower lake where it originated.

The chief financial officer for Cape Breton Explorations Ltd., Luciano Lisi, could not be reached Sunday. Calls to Nova Scotia Power were also unreturned as of Sunday evening.

Erin Pottie

The Cape Breton Post

22 June 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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