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Halifax residents fear ‘turbine hell’

Rural HRM residents, several of whom said they felt like second-class citizens, showed up en masse at city hall last night as Halifax regional council held a public hearing on a proposed wind-turbine bylaw.

The bylaw would allow turbines in industrial and rural areas under certain rules.

“There’s clearly a double standard here,” said Jeddore resident Heather Doyle. She said rural residents will be the ones to pay the price of meeting wind-energy quotas.

Several residents of Jeddore spoke out against a proposed wind farm in their area. They urged council to extend the setback distance from adjacent properties in the proposed bylaw from 550 metres to 2,000 metres to protect them from noise and possible mechanical failure. They also wanted council to stop any wind-farm applications until the bylaw is finished.

Gordy Milton said the proposed bylaw protects only urban residents.

“You send us to turbine hell in a handbasket,” he said.

On the other hand, industry representatives said the 550-metre setback is standard.

“A 550-metre setback from residences is reasonable and responsible,” said Paul Pynn with EON WindElectric.

He said he spoke with a resident who lives about 550 metres from a recently installed turbine near Sheet Harbour and he reported no annoyances.

Pynn also warned that if council extends the setback, further development of community-based wind projects will be difficult, if not impossible, to get off the ground.

Council voted to send the matter back to staff for a supplemental report on concerns raised at the public hearing by residents and councillors.

“I think we had this about 75 per cent correct,” said Coun. Barry Dalrymple. “We still have some work to do.”