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Eastern Kings delays vote on wind turbines

Eastern Kings residents will have a little more time to decide if they want a wind farm in their backyard after the community council delayed a vote on the issue.

Initially, residents were set to vote March 19 on whether or not to approve a wind farm development, but the council pushed it back to April 17 after meeting Tuesday night.

Sheila Eastman, the community council chair, said the delay would give residents more time to gather information before voting on the issue.

“There were concerns expressed by the community to council that March 19 was not giving them enough time to make an informed decision,” she said.

Council met with Energy Minister on March 7 to discuss a proposed 30-megawatt wind farm development in the area.

The plan would see about $9 million for the community over a 15-year period, including a $125,000 annual trust it could spend any way it wants.

As part of the proposal, Sheridan gave the community the chance to decide if it even wants the wind farm after residents previously rejected a proposal by a private company.

The P.E.I. Energy Corporation, which is a Crown corporation, would own and operate the latest turbines as the second phase of a wind farm it already runs in the area.

Eastman said residents will vote at the community council office and they won’t have to wait long to get the results.

“That same day,” she said.

In a news release from the provincial NDP, leader James Rodd said he hoped the community would hold out for a better deal from the province and he questioned why the money was limited to a 15-year period.

“I don’t think $600,000 a year for something of this nature is anything to shout about,” he said.

Rodd said residents should reject the deal and the community should negotiate with the province over setback distances for the turbines, power line routes and a better financial deal.

“If the Ghiz government is really interested in the proper promotion of wind and alternative energy and if it really is concerned about the future of Eastern King’s and other rural communities, it should be willing to sit down with community representatives and work out a deal that’s in everyone’s best interests,” he said.

In an interview Tuesday after his presentation to the agriculture, environment, energy and forestry committee, Sheridan said the province won’t force the development on Eastern Kings residents.

The government has three other possible sites if the community votes against it, he said.

An attempt was made to contact Sheridan about the delay in the vote but a spokeswoman for the Energy Department said it was a new development and he wanted to talk to the council before making any comments.