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Turmoil over turbine

In response to the proposal of building a wind turbine in Selkirk Park, Ed Marchuk, a concerned resident, and Ruby Tekauz, president of the local Birdwatchers Club, came before City council in a delegation opposing the structure Feb. 6.

The two told council the purposed turbine would be in an unsatisfactory location, would be harmful as it would disturb wildlife and the structure would be in violation of several agreements made between the City and the Selkirk Canoe and Kayak Club.

The Club, whose primary location is out of the Selkirk Park, came before council purposing the structure as a sustainable way to produce hydro for their headquarters. However, as both Marchuk and Tekauz pointed out the turbine wouldn’t really be ‘sustainable’ and there are other alternative methods with the same result that can be used instead.

Marchuk said the turbine would be noisy, an eyesore and would impact migration patterns of several bird species in the area – as well as effect birds of prey. He reminded council when the Kayak Club and the City signed a lease agreement in 2002 under “use of lands” there was a stipulation that “the lessee will not use the lands for any other purposes than the purpose of storage of paddling equipment and cross country ski equipment and an activity center for such purposes.”

He also told council the turbine would be in contravention of the agreement between the Club and City that states the height of architectural design to be no taller than one-story, as well as the agreement regarding that all electrical services to be underground.

Tekauz echoed Marchuk’s thoughts. She explained a turbine would be “detrimental” to bird life, habitat, as well as the natural environment of the park. She told council wind turbines are known to have a negative impact on bats and birds’ migration. Tekauz also said the location is not ideal for a turbine as the structure works best in open areas where there are prevailing winds.

Tekauz suggested before installing a wind turbine in the park that an environmental impact study should be conducted, as the area is a wildlife conservation area. She also suggested alterative sustainable methods such as solar panels to be considered.

After the delegation, deputy mayor Duane Nicol suggested administration set up a meeting with all parties involved to discuss the matter – the Kayak Club, the concerned residents and Birdwatchers Club and council members.

“I’m wondering if we can’t, rather than deal with this in a one side against the other side kind of fashion, if we can’t ask administration to bring the groups together to find some way to find some middle ground,” said Nicol.