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Wind farm proposed for N.S. farm belt

An Ontario company wants to be the first to construct a wind farm on Nova Scotia’s sprawling North Mountain, which runs the length of the Annapolis Valley, the province’s farming heartland.

Toronto-based Sprott Power Corp. is seeking provincial government approval to install 12 two-megawatt towers near Hampton in Annapolis County.

“They are pretty close to the top of the mountain. You’ll see them without any problem,” said Peter Newton, the warden of Annapolis County.

Newton said his municipality is trying to develop a policy on wind farms, but acknowledged any future policy would not apply to the Hampton Mountain Wind Power project.

“They started before our existing bylaw was put in place,” Newton told CBC News on Friday.

In March, Sprott Power Corp. was given building permits before the county imposed a temporary bylaw banning wind farms on North Mountain.

Because there were no rules governing wind farms, Sprott Power Corp. only required the 12 building permits needed for the concrete pads where the wind turbines will rest.

The Hampton Mountain Wind Power Project is subject to provincial environmental review. That process started on Thursday, when the project was posted on the Nova Scotia Environment Department website.

The public has until Dec. 11 to comment. Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment has one month after that to approve, reject or seek additional information on the project.

Newton said he believes the wind farm could be a boost for the area.

“There’s some opportunity for jobs, some tax revenue. Hopefully it will stimulate the economy locally,” he said.

Jeff Jenner, the president and CEO of Sprott Power Corp., told CBC News the wind farm will generate revenue for local businesses, royalties for local landowners and up to $250,000 a year in municipal taxes.

“We calculate that it will comprise between three to five per cent of the county tax base,” Jenner said Friday.

“Most of the land is not being used. Of the land we’ve optioned, only two per cent will be occupied by turbines,” he said.