The Municipality of Argyle will hold a council meeting this Thursday (July 19) to discuss the wind farm issue that was the focus of a community meeting last Thursday (July 12) in Comeau’s Hill.
This special session of council is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the council chambers in Tusket.
Argyle Warden Aldric d’Entremont, who attended last Thursday’s meeting in Comeau’s Hill, announced at that meeting – after hearing residents express their concerns about the project – that council would meet this week to talk about it.
Residents packed the community hall in Comeau’s Hill last Thursday night and made it clear they are against the wind farm project proposed for their community.
They expressed various concerns regarding the project, including how it could affect their health, the environment, wildlife and property values.
They urged the Municipality of Argyle to take action similar to what was done earlier this month in Kings County, where the municipal council passed a motion calling for wind-energy development there to be put on hold while council learns more about it.
The Comeau’s Hill meeting – which drew about 100 people – was a heated one, residents angrily saying they know very little about the wind farm being proposed by Anaia Global Renewable Energies.
Some said they hadn’t realized the project was planned for the Comeau’s Hill/Little River Harbour area, noting that the project had been referred to as the Wedgeport wind farm.
Natasha d’Entremont-O’Connell, who opened the meeting with some remarks on behalf of residents concerned about the project, said, “We all need to work together on this very important matter.”
The community meeting was held just two days after Health Canada announced it would study the possible connection between noise caused by wind turbines and adverse health effects reported by people living near them.
“Some would like to see this project stopped from moving forward,” d’Entremont-O’Connell said.
Addressing the representatives of Argyle council who attended last Thursday’s meeting, she said, “At the very least, listen to our concerns and put (this project) on hold until the study is out in 2014.”
A recurring theme throughout the meeting was what residents say has been a lack of information on the project. Few seemed satisfied with the answers they were getting Thursday night.
“I think it’s pretty clear that we don’t want these things (wind turbines),” one woman said. “I’m hearing a lot of ‘I don’t know’ here tonight.”
Rodrigo Moura of Anaia noted that wind power is part of Nova Scotia’s strategy to develop cleaner, renewable forms of energy and he took a number of questions from the floor during Thursday’s meeting.
At one point towards the end of the meeting, he asked residents how his company and the community could work together on the wind farm project, to which many of those in the room responded, in unison, “No, no, no.”
Said one resident, upset with the whole process, “We’ve been railroaded.”
Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont, who was on hand to help facilitate Thursday’s discussion, said he supports the community in its stand on the project, as did Roderick (Junior) Murphy, who represents the Comeau’s Hill-Little River Harbour area on Argyle municipal council. Murphy was absent for part of the meeting but later was back to say he is with the residents on this issue.
Those opposed to the project say it would result in reduced property values and that this, in turn, would offset any increased tax revenue the Municipality of Argyle would get from the proposed wind farm (an estimated $300,000 annually, according to figures cited at last week’s meeting).
Asked after the meeting for his reaction to what people had to say about the project, Moura said, “I was expecting opposition because we did speak to some of these people at the last community meeting … I was already aware some people were worried about the project.”
He acknowledged that calling it the Wedgeport wind farm may have caused some confusion, although he said he feels the company generally did a good job of getting the word out.
“We did advertise this project,” he said. “We believe we advertised it well. Maybe some people were not aware because of the name or maybe because of some other reason, but we did advertise.”
However, Natasha d’Entremont-O’Connell, for one, said she only found out about how the project stood to impact Little River Harbour, where she lives, and Comeau’s Hill when she attended a meeting a month ago in Wedgeport.
In her opening remarks at last Thursday’s meeting, she said the project should be put on hold, given all of the concerns and questions regarding these kinds of developments, a point she reiterated the next day.
“Especially with everything that’s in the media right now, with Health Canada … I don’t understand why they would even consider the idea at this point,” she said.
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