KENTVILLE – The health and safety impacts of large-scale wind turbines will be reviewed before any amendments are made to Kings County’s new bylaw regulating wind development.
The county announced Friday that it has awarded a $25,000- contract to Janis Rod Environmental Consulting of Halifax, with recommendations to the county’s planning advisory committee expected this spring. The company was one of seven that submitted bids on the study.
“People are asking questions about health risks and the distance from houses and noise,” Warden Diana Brothers said in an interview Friday. “We feel they are very legitimate questions that have to be answered.”
The county passed a bylaw regulating large-scale wind development last year. But it promised to review the bylaw following opposition to a test tower recently erected in the Greenfield area, south of Wolfville.
Residents presented county council with a petition with almost 400 names opposing Scotian WindFields’ 60-metre test tower just off the Peck Meadow Road.
They are concerned about noise, potential health risks, lower property values and the minimum setback of 700 metres from the nearest house if permanent towers are erected there. They’re also worried the bylaw doesn’t allow public input into specific wind development projects.
If an application meets criteria laid out in the bylaw, the development may proceed.
Residents are angry the test tower was erected without community input or knowledge.
Brothers said the county held public participation meetings the first time around but there was little input.
She said this time people will not be able to say there was no opportunity to get involved. Two public information meetings were held in the past two weeks at White Rock and Berwick. About 300 people attended.
And the county is conducting an online survey that wraps up Friday.
“And if there are any amendments to the bylaw, people will have another opportunity to respond,” said Brothers. “The public is much more aware of the process now and people are doing their own research to bring to the table.”
Bret Miner, who lives about a kilometre from the test tower, said Greenfield residents are concerned large-scale wind turbines could be put in their neighbourhood without a public say.
Miner said in a recent interview that more study needs to be done and communities need to have a say.
“We’re very happy the county has committed to review the bylaw,” Miner said.
Black Rock resident Nancy Denton said the county’s response to people’s concerns is a “wonderful demonstration of the democratic process.”
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