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Wind tower vandal risked life

An act of vandalism at Scotian WindFields’ meteorological tower in White Rock could have been fatal.

Just after midnight March 30, the White Rock test tower was vandalized, causing it to collapse. Company spokesman Dan Roscoe said the act was extremely unsafe and could have caused serious injury or death to those responsible. The tower and components weigh more than 3,000 pounds

He said whoever was responsible was taking their life or lives in their hands.

“It’s tremendous how dangerous this was,” Roscoe said. The 60 metre tower was supported by a series of steel guy wires, several of which were cut, causing the tower to collapse. This completely destroyed the structure and weather monitoring equipment.

“We will be replacing the tower,” Roscoe said. “It was a complete loss.”

The cost of the damage is estimated at $40,000. However, he said the tower was insured and the loss will be completely covered.

It will probably take a couple weeks to procure a replacement tower, but the situation won’t have much impact on the Scotian WindFields development effort. Roscoe said the company is responding to a provincial government program and working within the regulations of municipal governments.

“We’re upset this took place and it’s challenging to understand why it took place,” Roscoe said. “No illegal action against us is effective or required.”

He added he appreciates the vast majority of people with questions or concerns about wind power would not condone violence or vandalism.

As a project proponent, Roscoe said Scotian WindFields has been left to defend the entire wind energy process. He said he would like to see the Department of Energy hold an open public forum on wind energy. After that, Scotian WindFields would come back to the community to discuss details of specific projects. He said it would be more effective if government, the decision makers, explained policy, programs and regulations to the public.

Meteorological towers are used to collect wind data and their installment is a prerequisite step in developing wind energy projects. The White Rock tower was one of 17 installed by Scotian WindFields throughout the province, one of two in Kings County. The White Rock tower had been in place for five years.

The RCMP is investigating the incident.