KENTVILLE – Large-scale wind farms will be unwelcome in any part of Kings County, at least in the immediate future.
Municipal council on Tuesday night gave first reading to a recommendation from its planning advisory committee to prohibit all major wind projects while it reviews issues around the controversial developments.
The move comes in response to strong public opposition to proposed large-scale wind farms in the Greenfield area on the South Mountain and a large swath of land from Arlington to the West Black Rock Road on the North Mountain.
Residents of both areas have lobbied council against the wind plans and presented petitions to the committee and council.
Second reading is expected in July, following a public meeting next month. The amendment must then be approved by the province.
“There are people here who have building lots and are afraid to build on them,” Coun. Mike Ennis said Tuesday night at a special council meeting to deal with the issue. “It’s their community and I think they’ve spoken loud and clear.”
Coun. Dick Killam, who represents part of the North Mountain area, said the debate over wind turbines has caused much stress for residents.
“They have health and safety concerns. … We can’t just rush ahead and allow this to happen.”
The proposed North Mountain wind farm would cause problems for the military at 14 Wing Greenwood, which has expressed concerns over interruption of radar coverage, Killam said.
But councillors were at odds on a motion asking for a five-year moratorium on large-scale wind farms, referring the matter back to its planning advisory committee.
Coun. Wayne Atwater said a five-year moratorium is giving wind farm opponents “faint hope” because a new council could overturn the decision. Municipal elections will be held in October.
“The only protection we can give is for the next six months,” Atwater said.
Warden Diana Brothers said she supported the moratorium and it’s up to the public to hold future councils accountable.
“There are way too many concerns about wind turbines and too few answers,” said Coun. Basil Hall.
“I think we need to put out a very clear indication of where we intend to go in this county.”
Coun. Fred Whalen argued against the five-year moratorium, suggesting a new council could overturn it.
“And it sends out a message that we’re closed for business. I think we need to leave the door open a little bit,” Whalen said, noting that the province has renewable energy goals to fulfil.
Council will rescind its current wind turbine bylaw, which allows large-scale developments if they meet the county’s zoning and planning criteria. It was just approved by council last year after a series of public meetings.
But the public got more involved in the process after learning of Scotian Windfield’s proposed development on the South Mountain, and a proposed wind farm by Acciona, a multinational company based in Spain. The development would see 20 to 30 large wind turbines on the North Mountain.