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School board hears argument against wind turbine project

Rocky View School Board met with members of the No Turbine in Town Coalition (NTT), Dec. 6 to hear its concerns about the Cochrane High School Sustainable Development Wind Turbine Project.

The project, which the students are hoping to build on school property within the next few years, has been eliciting resistance among Cochrane residents, in particular those living in Cochrane Heights and Centura, who have voiced their concerns over the potential health risks and look of the five-kilowatt turbine.

“We are very impressed with the work and dedication that these students have poured into this project,” said NTT member Brenda Samborski.

“I honestly don’t feel comfortable being here talking against this project, because I think what the school is doing is amazing.

“The problem is that, as a resident who will be directly affected by this turbine, I just want our voice to be heard and for the school to work with us to come to a suitable solution.”

Students from Cochrane High School’s Sustainable Development Committee presented their side of the argument to the board on Nov. 15 hoping to sway members into seeing the benefits behind the green-energy project.

The students contended that the residentially designed turbine would cause little to no effect on residents in the area, which NTT member Richard Kennedy said he has difficulty believing.

In addition to noise and unsightliness, Kennedy also said property values will more than likely decrease as a result of the structure.

“The school claims that small wind turbines do not decrease property values and has stated that the project could actually stimulate interest in our area,” said Kennedy.

“The NTT Coalition asserts this claim is baseless and pure speculation. One real estate agent who sells homes in Cochrane Heights stated that you might as well put a pump jack on your front lawn.”

The coalition, which currently represents 130 individual residents, stated the school did not adequately communicate with residents or get enough feedback from them before going forward with the proposed project.

“We all appreciate the fact that the school is trying to provide an unique learning experience here, but the suitability of the turbine must also be considered in light of the community in which it will be located,” said Samborski.

“The residents will have to live with the turbine 24 hours per day, 365 days per year long after the current staff and students have left. “

The NTT members went on to state that they will continue their fight against the project and will use all legal processes available to prevent the construction of the turbine.

The board will vote on the project and announce their decision on Jan. 10.