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More details needed for wind project

Residents in the Harmony-Camden area are concerned about two industrial-sized wind turbines proposed for their area.

This proposal is coming from a partnership established in May between the Eskasoni Corporate Division and the German-owned company, juwi Wind Canada and the Community Wind Farms of Mahone Bay. (Truro Daily News, June 30) and calls for the development of a 4.4 megawatt community wind project with construction planned for 2014.

Wind power has been prominent in the news lately as people worry about the affect it could have on their health. I’m glad that Health Canada has decided to do a $1.8 million study to see if there is a connection between noise generated by these towering turbines and health problems reported by people who live close to them. It will initially focus on residents living near eight to 12 wind-turbine installations.

Wind power is one of the positive energy methods of the future. It’s going to increase as it should. Wind power is clean energy, it’s needed energy and we don’t have to worry about a turbine blowing up as we do with a nuclear plant. Wind energy needs to be promoted as a safe and clean way to power our present and future lifestyle.

But governments, both provincial and municipal, have to get together with citizens and find a way for it to be compatible, and seen to be compatible with our home and work environment. Until that happens it will not and should not be smooth turning for the turbines no matter where they are located.

The Health Canada study should give Canadian facts rather than conjecture about their effect, if any, on our health. Somewhere between the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s assertion the scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that energy capturing turbines do not have an impact on human health, and Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind Power’s assertion that exposure to low-frequency noise and vibrations – in particular, inaudible infrasound from wind turbines, can lead to sleep disorders, headaches, depression, anxiety, and blood pressure changes, there is the truth. For starters, that’s what we need to know.

The Harmony-Camden project may become a valuable part of the Nova Scotia wind program, but its details are pretty sketchy to date. Resident Deborah Smith is absolutely right to ask, even demand, that Colchester council not give the company a license until the questions from the community are answered in detail. For starters why is the Eskasoni Corporate Division and the Community Wind Farms of Mahone Bay involved in this project? My first thoughts are because it will make them money. I doubt if they’re in the business of philanthropy. Nothing wrong with making money as that’s what drives a capitalist society. But it is wrong to make money on the backs of others if they will be harmed because of it.

The county must force the company to give them the facts before they give them a license. There’s no point in messing around with the mights and the maybes. Tell CEO Keith Towse of Community Wind Farms to give the people the details, and work with them to get their support or no license.

Interestingly enough, as of today, the local community isn’t going to benefit directly from the turbines, although if they’re successful the province surely will. Maybe it’s time the wind companies consider giving the communities or counties where they are located some form of compensation.

It’s always nice to be generous, but councils are in the business of looking after the welfare of the citizens they represent, not giving everything away to big business. And wind energy is certainly big business. We have local government so we can expect our representatives to put our welfare topmost on their agenda. If they don’t they shouldn’t be re-elected.

I’m glad that Kings County is erring on the side of caution and demanding facts before they go ahead with wind turbine projects. I hope that Colchester County will do the same.

At present in this county the turbines have to be located 750 meters from local homes. Maybe that needs to be extended for a longer distance. To date, in our hurry to get wind energy we’ve been pretty generous and easy going with the wind companies.

It’s time for councils, which are supposed to work for the taxpayers, to consider taking something back from those who come to our communities to make money. If we allow it to be a one-way street we can only blame ourselves for being too generous or too lax in our civic duty.