HALLS HARBOUR – A proposed large-scale wind farm on North Mountain in Kings County is raising concerns among residents just as council is reviewing its regulations governing such developments.
Residents began circulating a petition Wednesday from Arlington to the West Black Rock Road and are seeking more information on the proposed development by Acciona Wind Energy Canada Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate Acciona.
The multibillion-dollar international renewable energy company operates 270 wind farms in 32 countries and employs 35,000 people. It operates 10 wind farms in North America, including several in Ontario.
The company began optioning land on North Mountain in 2007 and will soon erect a test tower to assess the wind resource. It operates 30- to 50-megawatt wind farms, with turbines that range from 80 to 120 metres in height and have blade lengths from 50 to 60 metres.
It has optioned 1,800 hectares of land stretching from the Bay of Fundy to the other side of North Mountain facing the Annapolis Valley.
“I’m getting many calls and emails from concerned residents of the area,” Dick Killam, county councillor for a part of the Municipality of the County of Kings, said in an interview Wednesday.
“Hopefully, when all the discussions and results of reports and information come in, there will be some sort of resolution.”
Council passed wind turbine regulations last year, but it is now reviewing them after residents complained that there was not enough community involvement in the process.
The county’s planning advisory committee will meet at 1 p.m. today and staff will present the results of recent public meetings on the subject, along with the findings of a survey.
The Environment Department is also expected to make a presentation on the environmental review process required for large-scale wind turbines. And officials from 14 Wing Greenwood are expected to present their concerns about wind turbines possibly interfering with their radar installations.
On April 23, planning advisory committee members will hear a presentation from consultants the county hired to review the health and safety aspects of large-scale wind turbines. That meeting is also open to the public.
“Greenwood has a (48-kilometre) radius drawn around the airbase, and this is their area of concern,” said Killam.
The proposed wind farm would be in that area, he said.
If the project goes ahead, it could mean the installation of 20 to 30 wind turbines in the North Mountain area, Killam said.
“Hopefully, we’ll soon get some answers as to what the long-term plan is from this company. I’m just waiting for the process to unfold as to how council will deal with the review of the wind-turbine policy once all the information is in.”
Lyda Keizer, a resident of Long Beach Road, near Baxters Harbour, said Wednesday that residents are worried about safety, noise and the impact on the value of their properties.
Keizer said she hopes there will be a large turnout at today’s meeting, although the midday meeting time excludes many working people from attending.
The existing regulations require a minimum 700-metre separation distance between turbines and private dwellings, she said.
Residents are asking that be increased to 2½ kilometres.
Acciona’s community relations manager Paul Austin told councillors at a recent meeting that the project is in the early stages. Austin promised the company would conduct in-depth public consultation as it proceeds with development.
“We want to collaborate with the community to design a plan, and that is something that will happen over the coming months and year,” he said in response to questions from councillors, many of whom were hearing about the proposal for the first time.