A residents group opposed to a controversial Lunenburg County wind turbine project has filed an appeal with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board over council’s decision to approve the project.
Last month, the Municipality of the District of Chester gave its approval and voted to enter into a development agreement for the South Canoe project.
The $200-million wind farm, which will be the province’s largest, was the subject of much debate at recent public hearings.
South Canoe will have 34 turbines and be built on a 3,044-hectare property between Vaughan and New Russell.
Friends of South Canoe Lake has decided that council’s decision cannot go unchallenged. The group filed its appeal Tuesday.
“What we’re primarily concerned about is the setback distances,” spokesman Emery Peters said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re concerned about the potential health effects and property values.
“It’s not an us and them argument. All we’re saying is take time and look at this thing properly to make sure that there are no health effects. We’re not experts, just as they aren’t – the municipal council. And all we’re saying is you really need to take the time and look at all of the information out there before you determine what a good setback distance is, and we don’t feel they’ve done that.”
Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Basin Pulp and Power Co. Ltd. are South Canoe’s lead developers. Nova Scotia Power owns a 49 per cent stake in the project, slated to be operational by Jan. 1, 2015.
While some residents are in favour of the wind farm and the jobs it would create, others have expressed concerns.
Peters, who owns a New Russell cottage, said the group has a conference call set up with the municipality and the developer that is co-ordinated by the review board to set a hearing date.
Council voted 6-1 in favour of approving the development agreement.
“We’re optimistic we have a good argument that the UARB can look at,” Peters said. “We don’t feel that the municipality was reasonable in the way they deliberated the proposal and that they are really in violation of their own planning strategy.
“Hopefully, the UARB will agree with us and overturn it.”
South Canoe’s 92-metre turbines will be at least 1.2 kilometres from the nearest residence.
The wind farm will sell its electricity to Nova Scotia Power at a fixed price for 20 years under a contract awarded in August by the province’s renewable electricity administrator.
South Canoe is expected to produce enough electricity to power 32,000 homes.
The project received provincial Environment Department approval in July.
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