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Richmond County settles planning appeal with wind developer

ARICHAT – Richmond County has settled an appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board by wind power developer Scotian Windfields.

The agreement heads off a UARB hearing that was scheduled for today by allowing rezoning of land for a single, 1.99-megawatt wind turbine at Martinique, Isle Madame, in return for a series of concessions by the developer.

The settlement commits Scotian to consult with the municipality and the community on the findings and recommendations of a Health Canada study of wind turbines expected in 2014.

Both parties will investigate Health Canada’s findings as they apply to the Martinique project, and identify any necessary mitigation strategies arising out of the report.

Richmond County Warden Steve Sampson said council received legal advice that Scotian stood an excellent chance of winning the appeal if it proceeded.

The municipality had originally refused a rezoning request made by Scotian back in April.

“If we lost the appeal, Scotian would have been under no obligation to do any of these things it agreed to in settlement negotiations,” said Sampson.

Sampson said council felt the settlement best protects the municipality’s interests.

Scotian agreed to spend up to $75,000 to implement the Health Canada strategies if required following consultation with the community.

Under the agreement, the company will also build a park and interpretive centre on the 0.95-hectare turbine site.

Scotian has also responded to two other municipal concerns by providing a further environmental review report not normally required for projects of this size.

Included in the agreement was a letter of confirmation from the manufacturer certifying the turbine’s rated production capacity.

Council ratified the settlement by unanimous vote Monday night.