ESKASONI – A small group of protesters voiced disapproval of the proposed location for a wind turbine project, Monday.
Only days before an election is scheduled to take place, former band councillor Virick Francis says he arranged a demonstration near Gabriel Street that began with 10 people and ended with about 30.
Francis, who is running for council, says he has attended renewable energy workshops and first handled the wind development project file for the band in 2007.
At that time, he applied for funding from the federal First Nations Infrastructure Fund and in August, Eskasoni received a total of $260,000 for wind power planning, which Francis says covered a feasibility study, an environmental assessment and community and communication planning.
“What has changed now is the route to the proposed site,” said Francis. “Since I’ve been taken off the project in 2009, they’ve chosen a different route, which I mentioned will be parallel to our watershed. Once that’s contaminated, it’s our natural drinking water and there’s our peat moss up there. And when that bog is disturbed there’s going to be carbon released into the atmosphere and everybody knows the concerns we have with our ozone layer.”
Project proponent Cape Breton Explorations Ltd. had originally planned a wind/hydro project, with the latter component involving Lake Uist. Each component was expected to provide 100 megawatts of power, however, the company later withdrew the project.
Under a new proposal, the private company is planning a 200 megawatt wind farm at East Bay hills with the potential of adding an additional 150 megawatt pumped storage generating facility.
Asked if the project was a popular election issue, Francis responded by saying “not actually.” In the last week or so, he says he’s been distributing information regarding the project and his concerns.
Eskasoni residents go to the polls Wednesday, with election results expected later in the week.
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