AMHERST – Amherst is going to ask the Municipality of Cumberland to revisit its setbacks for wind turbines in light of a proposed expansion to the Sprott Power project on the marsh near the town.
“Council has decided that we will send a letter to the county to indicate that we’ve received concerns from residents of the town regarding the wind turbines,” Mayor Robert Small said following last night’s March council committee-of-the-whole meeting. “We’d like to raise the issue with them and have an open discussion.”
Sprott Power is in the final stages of completing its $61-million wind farm on the west side of the Trans-Canada Highway. The Ontario-based company expects the 15 turbines could begin producing electricity as early as this weekend.
At the same time, the company is preparing for a request for proposals that could see the company build an undetermined number of turbines on the east side of the highway, closer to Amherst. The company has not indicated where the turbines will be located.
Several councillors said they have received concerns from town residents, especially along the marsh.
“We have to answer the questions we’re receiving,” Coun. Terry Rhindress said. “I’m getting quite a few calls from people along the marsh who are very concerned with this project and how it’s going to affect them and their property.”
Jason MacDonald, Amherst’s director of planning, said the county’s existing bylaw requires a setback of at least 500 metres from the nearest building used for residential purposes.
“It seems the county had taken adequate steps to develop and implement regulations for wind turbines,” MacDonald told council in his report. “The 500-metre setback is at the higher end of the scale when compared to other municipalities.”
Regarding property values, he said, there is no evidence that property values are impacted one way or the other, while he said the impacts of noise are subjective, difficult to determine and contextually unique.
He said the bigger issue is the property rights of the owner to develop his property as he wishes within rules established by the county.
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