August 15, 2013
Prince Edward Island

Wind farm opponent cuts ties to Prince Edward Island

Wind farm opponent cuts ties to P.E.I. | Ryan Ross | The Guardian | August 15, 2013 |

A man who planned to sell his land in Clearspring for one penny has unloaded his property, but just not for that price.

That’s because Ivor Sargent, a seasonal resident from Quebec, said nobody took him up on his offer to buy the land for one cent.

“I was quite surprised,” he said.

In February, Sargent proposed selling 23 acres of land for the bargain price as a means of protest against a 30-megawatt wind farm in Hermanville-Clearspring that he said the government forced on residents.

Energy Minister Wes Sheridan has said 41 of 58, or 71 per cent, of area landowners within a one-kilometre area around the development site signed agreements that will see them get compensation as part of the project.

When it is finished, the Hermanville-Clearspring wind farm will boost the amount of electricity the province gets from wind to 30 per cent.

Construction has started on the wind turbines to install the necessary concrete pads with the towers and blades expected to be delivered in September or October.

Since no one was interested in his one-cent offer, Sargent closed a deal last month to sell all 89 acres he owned in P.E.I. to Marwood Properties.

Sargent said he would have stuck with his original offer if someone had been interested.

“Nobody came through because it is a complex issue,” he said.

The wind farm wasn’t the only issue Sargent had to contend with since buying the land about 28 years ago.

In 2011, IRAC held a hearing about a non-essential highway that split Sargent’s property in two and cut off access to the waterfront.

Sargent successfully managed to get his property assessment reduced from $127,000 to $35,000.

With everything he faced, Sargent said he decided to cut ties with the province, in part because non-resident landowners have no political power.

“I felt there wasn’t much future for an absentee landowner in P.E.I.,” he said.

Sargent bought the land as an investment and had a subdivision plan for 12 lots, including four that were along the waterfront.

It was a big mistake to invest in property in that area and he probably lost about half the money he put into it, Sargent said.

“It’s sad because it was a costly venture for me.”

Sargent said there is resentment in the Hermanville-Clear Spring area about how the government handled the wind farm.

“They literally bulldozed that wind turbine development into the area,” he said.

That’s a position Sheridan refutes and in a statement he said the government had a public meeting and individual meetings with people who owned property in the development area to ensure everyone had a chance to provide feedback.

“The majority have continued to show their clear and strong support for this project, which will allow us to generate 30 per cent of our energy from wind and will provide economic benefits to this community for years to come,” he said.

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