March 4, 2012
British Columbia

Lake Country mayor in huff over wind farm

By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star, 4 March 2012

A proposed wind farm is creating some turbulence in Lake Country.

Northland Power B.C. Wind is seeking approval from the provincial government to establish a test site for energy-generating wind turbines at Long Mountain between Oyama and the Beaver Lake/Dee Lake chain.

“It’s right in our watershed and if they put in a wind farm, there will be roads all over the place and that will silt up our lakes,” said James Baker, Lake Country mayor.

“There will be more action in our watershed than we like, at least during the construction phase.”

As part of a trial, Northland Power wants to erect four meteorological towers to conduct wind data monitoring to determine suitability for wind energy.

“The exact nature and timing of some of the investigative activities will depend on the electricity market and other factors,” states a Nov. 17, 2011 letter from the company.

“However, Northland will in any case, conduct a site visit to assess the constructability of the project, conduct a preliminary environmental screening, initiate First Nations and community consultations and install wind measurement instructions as soon as practical.”

Baker isn’t convinced the tests will be successful.

“The wind isn’t uniform in our district,” he said of constant gusts needed to operate turbines.

Northland says proposed mast (tower) sites have been selected to minimize land disruption.

“However, if or where site clearing is required, Northland will apply for a license to cut,” it states.

Because the area is located in the Central Okanagan East electoral area, the provincial government asked the Regional District of Central Okanagan for input on the proposal.

The RDCO board has given its support subject to approval from the District of Lake Country and environmental concerns being addressed.

Baker says his municipality will consider any potential implications.

“We haven’t talked to the Okanagan Indian Band and I assume they will get a referral too,” he said.

A final decision on the wind data monitoring site will be made by the provincial government.

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