KENTVILLE – Large-scale wind farms will not be permitted anywhere in Kings County, at least not in the near future while county council reviews the issues around the developments.
Council voted 10-1 at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday to rescind its bylaw that would have allowed developers to erect wind turbines as long as they were 700 metres from the nearest dwelling.
Coun. Dick Killam said the vote was an example of democracy in action, as residents have expressed the clear message that they don’t want wind turbines in their communities.
“Simply put, the current wind turbine bylaw is flawed,” Killam said. “Our municipality has to demonstrate due diligence on this issue.
“We are open for business, but we want the right kind of business.”
He said municipalities and the province must do more research before allowing large-scale wind farms into rural communities.
“This province cannot afford to make these kinds of mistakes,” Killam said.
“Why do we in the beautiful rural areas have to be subjected to large industrial wind farms?
“This is our home and our communities.”
Coun. Patricia Bishop also voted to revoke the bylaw.
“I don’t think it’s right to have a bylaw that completely disrespects the wishes of our communities,” she said.
“There has been overwhelming opposition,” added Coun. Basil Hall. “Nobody should be asked to give up their peaceful and healthy home environment.”
Coun. Jim Taylor agreed.
“There are just too many questions at this point for us not to sit back, cool our heels and think carefully about these issues,” he said.
Coun. Wayne Atwater, the only councillor who voted to keep the bylaw, said he wants council to strike an advisory committee on alternative energy.
The province now must approve the county’s decision to cancel the bylaw, which was developed last year after a three-year planning process that included public meetings.
But many councillors had a change of heart after members of the public expressed their concerns.
Council held several information sessions and more public meetings and conducted a public survey. It also hired environmental consultants to examine the issues and report back.
This time, hundreds of residents attended the public meetings and spoke about noise, possible health and safety impacts and the lowering of property values.
Many argued the social and economic costs of wind power, along with the potential risks, outweigh the benefits.
There was 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.
Scotian Windfields proposed a development on the South Mountain, and a potentially huge wind farm on the North Mountain was put forward by Acciona Wind Energy Canada Inc., a subsidiary of a large multinational wind farm operator based in Spain.
The multibillion-dollar Spanish company owns 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 the North Mountain in 2007 and now has about 1,800 hectares available. Its plan calls for 20 to 30 turbines that range from 80 to 120 metres in height, with blade lengths of 50 to 60 metres.
Even military officials at 14 Wing Greenwood publicly expressed concern that large turbines might interfere with radar installations.
Acciona officials have said they are not deterred by public opposition or talk of a moratorium, and that the project is in its early stages and several years away from startup.