The energy minister should withdraw his approval of a Halifax County wind farm because the project doesn’t have enough local support, says a Terence Bay group.
The Friends of River Road was formed last summer in opposition to a six-megawatt wind farm Chebucto Terence Bay Wind Field Inc. proposed in partnership with Renewable Energy Services Ltd.
The project would be on 30 hectares off River Road in Terence Bay. Deal Excavating Services Ltd. owns the land.
Group spokeswoman Jacquelyn Pettipas said Tuesday members want Energy Minister Charlie Parker to revoke the project’s approval because community-based wind farms are supposed to have local support.
“That shouldn’t have been approved at all,” Pettipas said in an interview. “We didn’t even know about the project until after it was approved.”
She said the group represents 30 households in the Terence Bay area, including most River Road residents.
The project was approved a year ago under the province’s community feed-in tariff program. It helps municipalities, First Nations and community groups own and operate small-scale renewable energy projects by allowing them to sell their electricity to Nova Scotia Power at a fixed price for 20 years.
Pettipas, who lives on River Road, said she is concerned about the effect the wind farm could have on waterways and wildlife habitat because the Terence Bay Wilderness Area surrounds the site.
An Energy Department spokeswoman said COMFIT approval isn’t the only provincial green light the project requires.
“It’s the beginning of a longer process,” Holly Dunn said.
The wind farm must still get the nod from Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau.
Terry Norman, president of Chebucto Terence Bay Wind Field, said an environmental assessment that consulting firm CBCL Ltd. heads is underway.
The environmental plan is expected to be filed with the Environment Department in about six months, Norman said.
“The actual footprint for these turbines is relatively small. They won’t be a great impact on wildlife.”
Public consultations will be required as part of the environmental approval.
The project will have three or four turbines, depending on the results of a wind survey underway.
The wind farm is slated to be operational by September 2015.
Norman said the company and Halifax Regional Municipality have each held a public meeting about the project and heard from people either for and against it.
Norman said the Friends of River Road is a small group and there are people in the Terence Bay area who support the wind farm.
“They’re defining community as a very small community, really River Road, which is more than a kilometre from where the turbines will be.”
Halifax and West community council voted in January to approve the rezoning of an existing driveway to allow access to the proposed project.
The change was needed because the easement is on land the provincial Natural Resources Department owns.
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