NEW ROSS – When Susan Deal returned to the countryside near New Ross where she was raised she did so with the peace of mind it was an idyllic, unspoiled rural part of Nova Scotia.
Had she known what was in store she says she likely never would have come home.
The municipal government, in partnership with Minas Basin Pulp and Paper and Oxford Foods, has plans to erect 34 wind turbines in what essentially amounts to her backyard.
“I would have never chosen it had I thought this project was coming here,” she said. “As far as I am concerned if this happens the councillors aren’t valuing our quality of life. This is serious.”
The project is called South Canoe, and it would become the largest wind farm in the province should it be built.
And that worries Ms Deal because there is no precedent in Nova Scotia.
“This, through my understanding, they in no way in my estimation understand the scale of what is going to happen and the understanding by which they based that criteria on,” she said. “It’s a huge concern to me.
“My understanding of these large-scale wind sites puts up red flags inside of me. And that makes me stop to question. I have read many things through the years.”
Those things include noise concerns, health concerns, safety concerns and, yes, the fact they are viewed by some, including her, as an eyesore in an otherwise pristine part of the province.
Ultimately her concerns go back to 2007 when Ventus Energy was involved with the project. Things went quiet for awhile but the project was resurrected with different investors.
Minas Basin is nearing the final details on a purchase agreement for the turbines. And the municipal council is in the final stages of its responsibilities which include a series of public meetings and a public hearing.
Should the wind farm be approved by council, Ms Deal has other concerns, namely the value of her property.
And although the municipality has provided some evidence that after a small drop property values rebound and in fact increase after wind farms are constructed, Ms Deal said that’s not good enough.
“The difference between property assessment and what your home will sell for on the market, those are two different things,” she said. “And let’s not mix those up.
“The reality is that’s why there needs to be … I as a resident should I choose not to stay, I should not lose market value. Somebody should assure us if we choose to leave we will get full market value for our homes. And somebody needs to be responsible for health issues as well. It’s unacceptable the way this process has gone ahead.”
Ms Deal said she is concerned the municipality isn’t considering all that’s at stake.
“I am by no means an expert,” she said. “But the people who vote, if they haven’t done a load of research they can in no way tell what impact this is going to have. We are rural Nova Scotia. We don’t want and don’t need a site in front of us. That’s what we moved to get away from.
“My health, I’ve spent the last 53 years to take care of it. Why should I sacrifice that? I’m happy for the people here in the village that nothing like this could ever happen to them. But we’re just as important.”
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