The Fairmont Wind Farm in Antigonish County has been given the green light by the provincial environment department, subject to conditions that include a moose survey.
“We’re happy with the outcome and look forward to construction,” Fairmont development manager Andy MacCallum said Thursday.
The Fairmont farm is a project of Wind Prospect Inc., a Canadian subsidiary of the Wind Prospect Group of the U.K. The company operates wind farms around the world.
In 2010, Wind Prospect Inc. signed a contract to supply 4.6 megawatts of electricity to Nova Scotia Power from two turbines to be located on a site six kilometres north of the Town of Antigonish.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau approved the $8-million project on Thursday.
The approval included a requirement that Wind Prospect assess, prior to construction and in consultation with the Natural Resources Department, whether mainland moose are using the land “within and around the project footprint.”
Based on the results of those surveys, Wind Prospect “must make necessary modifications to mitigation plans and/or wind farm operations to prevent any unacceptable impacts” to the satisfaction of the environment and natural resources departments.
MacCallum hadn’t had an opportunity to study the details of the ministerial approval but said the company anticipated the moose-related provisions.
The approval also requires Wind Prospect to monitor and report all bird and bat mortality from turbine operation for a two-year period. Flying near wind turbines can kill bats by causing their lungs to collapse.
Other environmental conditions include a monitoring and mitigation plan if site preparation activities occur between May 1 and Aug. 31, breeding season for most birds.
Wind Prospect must also cease work and report to government and to First Nations if an archeological site or artifact is unearthed during project development.
MacCallum said Wind Prospect has been working on the Antigonish project for more than two years and spent a year on its environmental assessment.
“The conditions are fine,” he said.
MacCallum said he expects construction of the wind farm will begin by December. He said it could operating by next July.
“We’re on track to do that pending the outcome of the stipulations,” he said.
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