NEW ROSS – The current incarnation of the South Canoe wind project may be just a couple of years in the making, but the idea of a wind farm goes back as far as 2007, if not earlier.
In fact, an article published in this newspaper in September 2007 suggests the initial plan was to have the wind farm up and running in some capacity by 2009.
At the time Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited was partnered with Ventus Energy Inc. to build a wind farm that could have included up to 66 turbines (compared to 36 today) on the former logging lands which bordered Lunenburg and Hants counties.
The project had gotten to the stage where the public was invited to an open house to study the plans. And environmental assessment had even been commissioned.
Since April of 2004, a 60-metre-tall meteorological pole has been measuring wind speed and direction on the lands. These measurements have proven the possibility of setting up shop in the area. That tower is still standing today.
That farm would have the capacity for 100 megawatts or, in practical terms, South Canoe Wind Park could produce enough energy to power 35,000 homes in Nova Scotia annually.
Even then, Warden Allen Webber said the project would be a sensitive one.
“People have to make some tough choices, I would say, and it’s not only in Chester, it’s wherever you live,” he said. “If you want cleaner and alternate forms of energy, you’re going to have to accept some of the difficulties associated with that or we’re going to have air-quality problems. There’ll be some concerns, but hopefully we can address them.”
Then Chester-St. Margarets MLA Judy Streatch said she had many questions surrounding the proposal, including cross-boundary jurisdiction, which in the new incarnation isn’t an issue as all the turbines will be in the Chester district.
Although Ms Streatch said she understood the importance of renewable energy for the future of Nova Scotia, she would be making sure this would work for her riding.
“We want to make sure it’s the right fit for the community and that would be my concern as the MLA who has a piece of her constituency in it,” she said.
Ms Streatch added the public must be kept well-informed of this project and she would continue to ask questions.
“As elected officials and caretakers of the community, as community members are politicians we have to say what’s the full story here?” she said. “What are the advantages? What are some of the potential drawbacks? And ultimately at the end of the day, what about the quality of life? Does this impact on our quality of life and, if so, how do we compensate for that, how do we address that?”
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