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Gulf Shore association continues opposition to proposed wind farm

PUGWASH – The Gulf Shore Preservation Association remains undaunted in its opposition to a proposed wind farm for the Pugwash area even though the province has given its conditional approval to the project.

“Frankly, we are not surprised at all that the environmental assessment was approved, they always are. But, we are heartened by the fact the minister has set conditions. This makes the project extraordinarily difficult for the proponent to successfully develop,” association president Lisa Betts said Wednesday. “The clock begins ticking today on a two-year deadline to complete more than 30 tasks set out by the minister that the proponent has not met in five years of trying.”

On Tuesday, Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau approved the North Cumberland Wind Power LP project that must still go through the competitive bidding process under the renewable electricity administrator.

If the project is successful, it could see up to 12 turbines erected in the Gulf Shore area near the Irishtown Road.

If its application to the request for proposals is successful, the 33-megawatt wind project could generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

Company president Charles Demond is pleased with the conditions and said he will have no problem meeting them.

“With the approval we will carry on with our plans to move forward with the project,” Demond said. “There is a list of conditions and they are all very sensible. It’s a good decision and we won’t have any problem complying with them.”

Demond said the conditions relating to consultations are sound and something the company was going to do regardless.

“It’s something we would do in any event. It’s the proper way to move a project like this forward so you keep the people in the area posted on what’s happening, when you plan to do things and how you plan to do things,” Demond said. “The other thing is to make ourselves available and accessible to answer to any complaints or concerns as they arise.”

Betts said her association agrees with the conditions that have been set on the project, including one that requires the company to keep wind turbines more than 30 metres from wetlands and watercourses, which she said will eliminated more than 40 per cent of its existing locations.

“Hundreds of residents expressed serious concerns during the environmental assessment comment period. These are educated, well-read individuals who did their research before making their comments,” Betts said. None of these people are prepared to just let this happen without continued and sustained opposition. There are still a number of regulatory hurdles for the proponent to complete if, and only if, they are even able to develop a viable project with all of the minister’s conditions.”