CLEAR SPRINGS – Finance Minister Wes Sheridan found fertile ground here Tuesday night when he hosted a public meeting on the future of building the province’s third wind turbine operation along the north shore.
Instead of tilting at windmills, like Don Quixote, Sheridan discovered a much more receptive response from the community of Hermanville/Clear Springs. The same plan was declined by Eastern Kings earlier this year.
Not that there wasn’t opposition, but if approval was based on audience applause alone, the more than 100 who packed the St. Margaret’s Hall would endorse the 30-megawatt operation.
“Government is trying to find a place that least affects people,’’ said local business owner Tracy Weinberg. “We need some business to help our economy because we like it here and don’t want to move to Alberta.”
Pro-windmill comments during the course of the meeting certainly drew the greatest applause, but it became clear that the area – an unincorporated region in northeastern P.E.I. – is split into three separate camps.
Those who want the province to proceed, those who want the province to await the results of a Health Canada study on wind turbines and health effects, and those who are seasonal residents who don’t want peaceful surroundings changed.
“I was all for it at first, but you can forget about your peaceful existence,’’ said Gerard MacPhee from East Point who said the turbines have shattered his summer living and devalued his property.
The Northeast Community Alliance, a new socio-economic group focusing on bringing business and investment to the region, said they would take on the role of community leadership should they be endorsed by the region.
“We want the windmills, but only if you do as well,’’ said interim chair Steve Cheverie.
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