A group of landowners near a proposed Hermanville-Clear Springs wind farm says the government is pushing the plan through despite opposition from people in the area.
Julie Shore, a spokeswoman for the Hermanville-Clear Springs Property Owners Association, said the government doesn’t have the permits or environmental assessment yet that it needs to move forward with the project.
“They certainly don’t have community support, which (Premier Robert) Ghiz said in his 10-point plan if he didn’t have that he wouldn’t move forward,” she said.
Shore was referring to the government’s previously announced plan to develop wind energy in P.E.I.
Last week, the provincial government announced it was moving ahead with a 30-megawatt wind farm in the Hermanville area in Kings County through the P.E.I. Energy Corporation.
The province originally proposed building the wind farm in Eastern Kings, but after residents voted in favour of the project in a plebiscite, the community council decided against it. That’s when the government moved on to Hermanville-Clear Springs, which was the next site on its list.
Shore said the government sought approval from some landowners in the area, but not everyone in the community was allowed to vote.
Part of the problem is Hermanville and Clear Springs aren’t incorporated, she said.
“The problem is we don’t have a council and they’re walking all over us.”
Among the group’s complaints, Shore said they haven’t been able to get answers to all of their questions about the development, despite Energy Minister Wes Sheridan telling them he would do just that.
“He’s not answered one of mine,” she said.
Shore said the government hasn’t provided landowners with a copy of a proposal or plan for the wind farm to show the exact locations for the turbines.
“They’re supposed to present a proposal,” she said.
It’s not that the landowners were against wind energy, she said, but the government is building them to close to residences, the turbines will lower property values and residents have health concerns about the project.
“Having them this close is not the way they’re supposed to be doing it,” she said.
Last month, Health Canada announced plans to study whether wind turbines have any impact on people’s health.
Shore said the government should wait until that study is done instead of moving forward before Health Canada releases the results.
“I think that’s totally disrespectful to me as a human being,” she said.
The group also had concerns about a public meeting the government held last month because most of the people who attended weren’t from the community, she said.
“That meeting was stacked.”
Sheridan disagreed and said everyone who attended the meeting did so of their own volition. He also said the government wouldn’t have been able to stack the meeting with fake supporters, even if it tried.
“It’s impossible,” he said.
The government has divided the project area into what it calls primary, secondary and tertiary zones at varying distance within one kilometre of the development.
Sheridan said 19 of 25 landowners in the primary zone and 22 of 33 owners in the tertiary zone signed agreements that will see them get compensation as part of the development.
That’s 71 per cent of landowners within that one-kilometre area.
“A very strong majority,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan said he has listened to everyone, including at the public meeting and with the signed agreements.
“This is not a number pulled out of the air,” he said.
As for the landowners group saying Sheridan won’t answer their questions, he said some of them sent him a letter threatening legal action so he had to stop communicating with anyone whose name was on the letter.
“My legal advice is that I can’t contact or respond to anyone that has put in legal paperwork toward us as an energy corporation,” he said.
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