TUSKET – Argyle municipal council in Yarmouth County voted preliminarily Thursday night to keep large commercial wind turbines at least a kilometre from the nearest house.
Councillors had been considering amending their land-use bylaw and municipal planning strategy and voted 7-1 to do so.
Now they must review their decision at their next meeting and then hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment before the final vote takes place.
At present, the distance between a wind turbine and the nearest house must be merely twice the height of the turbine. And turbines are permitted in all zones except coastal wetland areas.
Argyle municipality’s first wind farm development was in 2005 at Pubnico Point. One man whose family home was 330 metres from the nearest turbine complained of health problems.
The developer subsequently bought the house and another family is now living there, said municipal CAO Alain Muise.
The Pubnico wind farm’s 17 turbines bring in about $200,000 a year in tax revenue to the municipality and employ five full-time workers, Muise said.
A proposed new 50-megawatt wind farm could include as many as 16 turbines in a 3.5-kilometre span.
The villages of Little River Harbour, Comeaus Hill and Upper Wedgeport are all situated nearby.
The wind farm developer, Anaia Global Renewable Energies Inc., recently installed a meteorological tower off nearby Black Pond Road to measure wind speed.
Background information provided by Anaia Global states the company is a joint venture of the Membertou Corporate Division of Halifax and Cape Breton and Grupo Guascor of the Basque region of Spain.
The company says it would build a transmission line to carry electricity from the wind farm to Nova Scotia Power’s generating station on the Tusket River.
Anaia Global has said it is in discussions with landowners over a location for the wind farm.
“It is anticipated that the project will be registered for environmental assessment in the fall of 2012,” the company said. “Pending approval, construction is scheduled to commence in 2013.”
Amendments to the Electricity Act in 2010 stipulate that the province must produce 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, said Energy Department spokeswoman Jackie Van Amburg.
For that goal to be reached, at least 300 gigawatt hours of electricity per year must come from independent power producers, she said.
But there is opposition to wind farms.
Kings County council voted this month to rescind a bylaw that would have allowed developers to erect wind turbines if they were at least 700 metres from the nearest dwelling.
And Amherst town council has asked Premier Darrell Dexter to delay announcements of other wind turbine projects near the Cumberland County town until Health Canada finishes a study to determine if wind turbines pose any health hazard to humans.
Dexter said Thursday that he was surprised to get the letter after seeing Amherst Mayor Robert Small at the official opening of the Sprott wind farm outside Amherst in late June.
“It’s the darnedest thing,” the premier said after a cabinet meeting in Halifax. “I sat with the Mayor of Amherst at the opening of that faciility. He could not have been more effusive about, you know, how proud he was of this project and what it meant for Amherst.”
Dexter said he’s seen no credible studies that suggest the turbines harm people’s health, and he doesn’t plan on stopping wind power development while the Health Canada study is underway.
Meanwhile, a day after Dexter’s comments, Small said in an email that he still supports wind farm development, but he wants Dexter to help determine how far away from homes wind turbines should be. He would like to see them be set back more than 600 metres from homes.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association issued a news release Thursday saying that calls for a moratorium on wind energy development are not warranted.
“The balance of scientific and medical evidence to date clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health,” the release stated.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding