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Town urging delay of wind projects

AMHERST – Amherst is urging a number of proposed wind projects near town be delayed until their potential health impacts can be addressed.

“We have heard concerns from a number of citizens with regard to the proposed additional turbines, particularly regarding the uncertainty surrounding the location of the turbines,” Mayor Robert Small said Monday.

In a letter to Premier Darrell Dexter, the mayor said concerns have been increasing since Sprott Power finished a $61-million project near the community. While the town supports wind power generation, Small said the concern is that there is adequate and consistent setbacks in place.

He wants the projects delayed until the residents’ health concerns are addressed.

“Currently, setbacks for these projects are determined by the county and not the town. At the same time, residents of Amherst bordering on the existing project and the proposed project are impacted to a greater extent than county residents,” the mayor said in his letter to the premier. “While it may seem to be a ‘not in my backyard’ concern, there seems to be some validity with respect to the other concerns being voiced regarding the impact on the health of citizens, property values and so on.”

As a result of these concerns, the mayor said the town is writing another letter to the county and has forwarded a motion to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities for consideration at its fall meeting.

Health Canada announced July 10 that, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, it will conduct a research study that will explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, people living near wind power developments.

Small said the town hopes this study will once and for all provide definitive information on the health impacts associated with these projects.

The mayor does not see it as a town versus county issue. He wants the process slowed and deferred until the Health Canada study is complete and both communities have had some local experience with the existing wind farm.