TRURO – Careful consideration should be given to the placement of a proposed wind farm in Wentworth Valley to protect the area’s natural aesthetic value, a citizen’s group believes.
“We’re sensitive to the fact that it is a good wind area. And we’re sensitive to the fact that there is plenty of land up there that could potentially be used for wind development,” said area resident Garfield Moffatt, who is also a member of the Folly Lake-Wentworth Valley Environmental Preservation Society.
“I guess the problem for us is we don’t know where this proponent will end up wanting to ultimately place the turbines. So the best way to work with them is to be as engaged as possible in the early part of the planning, so that they are not literally hanging down over top of the valley and to mitigate those risks as much as possible.”
Concern stems from a proposal by Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. to create a wind farm of up to 50 industrial-sized turbines along each side of the Wentworth Valley in both Colchester and Cumberland counties.
“I think we speak for a fairly broad section of the population in the valley but not everybody,” Moffatt said. “But our concern is meant to be across the board for all the residents so that we can preserve what we believe is a high-value tourist destination and for where a lot of people live, work and play.”
As a tourist destination and “natural jewel,” the group feels Wentworth Valley should receive the same kind of protection from development as other scenic areas of the province, such as when Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) designated Peggy’s Cove a no-wind zone.
The move by HRM ensured that the tourism operators in the area would not be faced with a threat to their livelihoods and the society is recommending that Colchester and Cumberland counties consider the same for its “tourist havens.”
The society is not necessarily trying to stop the proposed wind farm but it does want a say in turbine placement and is urging other citizens to also be heard.
“Philosophically, I think being opposed to it, or for it, is a bit of a non starter,” Moffatt said. “What we are opposed to is placement that will damage the viability of the area. We just say, how can we manage this best for the area, and for the residents and for the people that work and play (there)?”
In 2009, the group faced a similar threat when it challenged a proposal by Confederation Power to develop a wind project in the area and it is worried that one of the areas proposed for development is similar to the previous proposal.
The group acknowledges that this time round, the proponent has been actively seeking the involvement of the community regarding its proposals, but it also wants residents of both counties to be aware of potential consequences.
“Any negative impact on the natural beauty of the Wentworth Valley-Folly Lake area will mean fewer people coming to the area for its well-known recreational and outdoor activities, and that will impact the economic viability of the area for its residents and businesses,” Moffatt said.
Anyone wishing further information is asked to contact the society at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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