HILDEN – Lots of questions, still seeking answers.
That was the perspective offered Tuesday evening by visitors to an open house in Hilden regarding the release of an environmental assessment for a four-megawatt, two-turbine wind project proposed for the area.
“We’re just basically getting some information,” said Joan Hansen, of Lower Truro, who attended the open house along with her husband Rick.
So too for Joanne and Greg McNutt of Truro who also were seeking first-hand information about the project.
“And just the impact that it is going to have on this community. How do the people benefit from this?” Joanne said. “We’re still looking to see what the benefits are and that there’s no side effects to the residents that they’re near.”
The Truro Heights Wind Limited Project is proposing to construct the two turbines in the Hilden area in partnership with a six-megawatt, three-turbine project planned for Millbrook.
Keith Towse, CEO of Community Wind Farms Inc., the company behind both iniatiatives, has said previously that a Community Sustainability Fund, to be established for residents in each area, will realize about $15,000 per year for the Truro Heights wind farm and $22,000 per year for the Millbrook venture.
The environmental assessments undertaken determined there would be “no significant environmental concerns or impacts that may result from the project that cannot be effectively mitigated or monitored.”
Towse said during the meeting that the next stage in the process will be to satisfy any further questions that the Department of Environment may have and then to seek permits from the department and the Municipality of Colchester to proceed with construction.
“Assuming we get those two permits then we’ll probably do some clearing later this year and construct the turbines (during the) summer of next year.”
Another meeting is planned later in the year to bring residents up to date on that process as well as proceeding with establishing the community liaison process.
“And hopefully that will facilitate regular dialogue backwards and forwards and we want to make sure that any questions that people in the community have we know about and can get an answer to,” Towse said.
About 50 residents turned out for last night’s session, while close to the same number attended a similar open house held Monday evening in Millbrook.
Geoff Stewart, the municipal councillor for the area, said while residents do have concerns, from what he had been hearing they were being addressed.
“So far it’s been fairly positive,” he said, of the feedback he was receiving. “There’s obviously concerns but I think they’re being addressed and I’m sure in the next week or so I am going to get a better input into what people really are thinking. For now, it’s seems to be fairly positive but, again, there are people who have concerns.
Those included such issues as wind noise, the proximity of turbines to residences and shadow flicker,” he said.
“I think people are getting their concerns addressed whether it changes their opinion or not, that will be known in time.
“But it’s an opportunity for people to at least express their concerns and that’s the priority.”
The setback of the turbines was a top-of-mind subject for Jim Rector of Truro Heights.
“I just don’t want these things to get too close to me for selling features and that,” he said. “Like, I wouldn’t buy a house if one of them was handy the house that I wanted to buy.”
Information provided at the meeting indicated the nearest turbine to a Hilden home for the Millbrook project would be 1.1 km. The nearest turbine to a Hilden home for the Truro Heights project was stated at 900.1 metres.
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