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Further changes recommended to Colchester County Council regarding wind turbine bylaw

TRURO – A second local community group has requested that Colchester County Council consider changes to its wind turbine bylaw.

“Clearly as the industry is developing so is the understanding of what classifies responsible placement,” Spiddle Hill Road resident Wayne Edgar told council Thursday night, during a presentation about concerns shared by he and neighbouring residents.

With support from a packed council chambers of residents from the Harmony/Camden area, who have also asked council to consider setback changes beyond the 700 metres currently provided in the bylaw, Edgar and seasonal Spiddle Hill resident Peter Lavell spoke to council of physical and mental issues and loss of property enjoyment by the single industrial turbine currently operating on Spiddle Hill.

The turbine is owned by Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field Inc., which also has plans to erect a second 800-kilowatt turbine and three 50-kilowatt turbines over the next few years.

The pair spoke of communication concerns with the company over discussions regarding turbine setbacks and noise issues and asked council to consider a number of changes to its existing bylaw.

Council has already referred discussion on the issue to its Planning Advisory Committee, which will include future opportunities for public discussion and presentations.

“Our experience living close to the CCWF turbine is that residences and properties located up to 1.5 kilometres away, hear the loudest noise and suffer the most regular disturbance from the turbine,” Edgar said.

“It can also be heard, sometimes, at residences approximately two kilometers away and even 2.5 kilometres away.

“Noise levels and timing of disturbance vary considerably,” he said. “However, at its loudest, noise can be heard within homes, even with the windows closed, at a distance of 1.5 kilometres. Residents within this distance have been woken at night by the sound of the turbines and suffer other forms of sleep disturbance.”

Recommendations put forth to council include:

– minimum turbine setback distances of 2,000 metres from the nearest residence;

– change the municipal definition of a dwelling to include alternative amenities such as solar panels and compost toilets;

– change the bylaw to require that notification of applications of wind farms and public meetings regarding wind turbine projects be sent in writing to residents and property owners within a three-km. of a proposed site;

– notification should also go to alternate addresses for seasonal residents;

– consideration be given to the intended future use of adjacent properties on which a resident does not currently exist;

– require that a “substantial financial bond” be put up by developers for decommissioning of turbines at end of use;

– establish a regulatory framework for continued monitoring of wind turbine installations to ensure compliance relative to noise and environmental issues.

Updated version.