A Canadian folk music icon has added her voice to the storm of controversy surrounding a proposed Nova Scotia wind farm.
Anne Murray, who is from the province and spends her summers in Pugwash, N.S., told CTV’s Canada AM she is opposed to the plan to put 12 turbines on land located about two kilometres from what she said is a “beautiful, quaint, fishing village” surrounded by cottages.
“The area is a vacation place. People have saved up their life savings to build homes there, retirement homes, and you know what happens when these things are put up, property values plummet,” Murray said in a phone interview from her winter home in Jupiter, Fla.
“Nova Scotia is virtually uninhabited, you could put thousands and thousand of turbines all over Nova Scotia and you would never hear a peep out of anyone, why would you pick a quaint little place like this? I just don’t get it at all.”
Murray said she has sent a letter to Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter expressing her opposition to the plan, but hasn’t heard back yet.
The project has been proposed by Halifax-based North Cumberland Wind Farm, an affiliate of Atlantic Wind Power Corp. The turbines would be located about two kilometres from Pugwash and would generate 33 megawatts of power.
Murray said she supports Nova Scotia’s efforts to move towards sustainable forms of energy and she denied taking a “not in my back yard,” position, pointing out that the proposed site would not be visible from her summer home, which she purchased 30 years ago.
She said Nova Scotia, and particularly Pugwash with its rural charm and scenic golf course, depends heavily on tourism as an economic driver. That would be put in jeopardy, she said, if the project is approved.
“People are saying ‘Poor Anne, she’ll have to look at turbines from her golf course, what a pity.’ But they don’t realize that the golf course drives the economy and I believe an industrial installation, and industrial use of this land, would be the demise of the economy of the area,” Murray said.
North Cumberland Wind Farm had originally wanted to install 27 turbines but has cut back that number to 12, since 2006 when the plan first went forward.
Ron Joyce, the co-founder of Tim Hortons and the owner of the nearby Fox Harb’r golf course, opposes Murray. Joyce has publicly said Nova Scotia already has 26 wind farms, and the benefits of shifting away from fossil fuels outweigh concerns about the appearance of the turbines or the noise they emit.
The deadline for public submissions is March 7.
Nova Scotia could issue a decision on the proposal as early as next month.
Last week, the Gulf Shore Preservation Association complained that the environmental assessment filed for the project is incomplete – a belief Murray shares.
Murray has campaigned along with the association for years, fighting against wind farm developments in the area.
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