Opposition is growing against the location of a community wind farm in Hillside Boularderie, which borders Groves Point.
“We can’t stress enough that we aren’t against green energy or wind farms,” said Kevin Boudreau, a member of the newly-formed Hillside Boularderie and Area Concerned Citizens Group. “We’re not happy with the way the property owners were notified of this project before it began. We were kind of left out.”
The group is made up of upwards of 30 people and growing.
“We are putting together a petition to lobby all levels of government. We want them to reconsider, and put this development in an area where it won’t effect the property owners.”
Natural Forces has received Community Feed-in Tariff Program approval for the development of the Hillside Boularderie community wind farm.
COMFIT is a program government is offering communities to get involved with sustainable energy. COMFIT approval allows contractors the opportunity to receive an established price per kilowatt hour for projects producing electricity from qualifying renewable resources to feed into the province’s electricity grid.
“They are going in behind my home and over toward Little Pond and Groves Point,” Boudreau said. “This is agriculture land, and there are also nesting grounds for eagles, hawks and osprey. It’s full of wildlife and the provincial picnic park.”
Boudreau said there is concern about the visual impact the project will have on the community, frequencies given off by the turbines and the adverse effects on their way of life.
“There is a Health Canada study due out next year and we are hoping they would wait until this study is complete, but they don’t want to seem to do that,” Boudreau said. “We want people to know that we have a group opposed to this project, but we are definitely not against wind turbines. It’s just the location of these things, in areas close to homes. Some residents are not fully aware that this project is taking place.”
Boudreau said he realizes that Natural Forces is meeting the clearance distances for the municipality.
“I think that should be revisited. These are not small turbines, they are the largest they are making. If you match these up with the ones at Lingan, the others are like babies compared to them.”
He added that the residents are concerned that the turbines will have an impact on tourism and property values.
Group member Kaye Jardine said the concern is the size of the proposed turbines and the setback.
“These are commercial wind turbines and they are bigger than they’ve ever been before,” she said. “These developers want to place their turbines as close as possible to an electrical substation and in this case it’s Gannon Road. The whole problem lies with the setback.”
Jardine said municipalities don’t make the setbacks far enough.
“We have a beautiful scenic drive, peace and tranquility and we may lose that,” she said. “There are also the health issues associated with living so close to these large commercial turbines. Why not halt construction until the results of Canada’s health study on wind turbines is complete.”