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Wind turbines worth $9M to community, says province

The P.E.I. government says it would pump $9 million into the economically strapped community of Eastern Kings over the next 15 years if residents reconsider construction of as many as 15 new wind turbines.

Energy Minister Wes Sheridan revealed his preferred location Tuesday to the standing committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry – right next to the 10-turbine wind farm near East Point the province already owns.

In 2010, the majority of residents from the municipality of Eastern Kings who came out to a public meeting voted against any more wind development.

Now Sheridan is asking residents to reconsider.

Combine the existing wind farm with the one proposed, and Sheridan said government would pump $9 million into the community over the next 15 years. That includes $125,000 a year for the community council to spend on anything it wants.

“Has the reality changed? It sure has,” he said.

“The community has suffered greatly since that time. They know they have to look at things in a different manner.”

Elmira fisherman Tony MacDonald, who lives near the proposed wind farm, said, “Government is flashing around a few dollars and Eastern Kings is a poor area right now after losing a couple of fish plants and some of my neighbours and everybody could use an extra dollar.”

The community will vote Monday night at the Eastern Kings Community Centre.

If residents again reject the idea of another wind farm, Sheridan said he’ll simply go to the next community on his list.