Public meeting on Barrachois wind farm planned
Credit: Cape Breton Post | August 26, 2013 | www.capebretonpost.com ~~
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NORTH SYDNEY – Natural Forces is seeking environmental approval to develop a second wind turbine project in Cape Breton in addition to the controversial wind farm about to be constructed in Hillside Boularderie.
Like the first project, the proposed Barrachois wind farm will be a 4.6 megawatt, two turbine facility and developed as part of the Nova Scotia Community Feed-In Tariff program.
“We are about two years into the project,” said Andy MacCallum, vice president of developments for Natural Forces Wind Inc.
“We have some of the permits and we are going through the (environmental approval) process. We hope to have EA approval by the end of the year and then start clearing maybe this winter and possibly the spring and then hopefully have the turbines up and running, so commissioning by September next year.”
MacCallum said the Barrachois project will be about the same size as the one in Hillside Boularderie and will be built near a quarry.
The proposed location is more than one kilometre from the nearest home and close to communication towers that have already been erected, he added.
Natural Forces Inc. is currently planning a public information session on the Barrachois project for a yet to be determined date in September as part of the environmental assessment process.
MacCallum said an initial public information session was held in November 2011.
“It takes a year to build, to collect all the reports so one of the main reasons we have the next public meeting is to show some of the results of those studies – the noise and shadow flicker results and a little bit about the surveys of the birds and bat surveys we have been doing.”
A notice was distributed recently to inform people that an environmental assessment was underway, he said.
He said the Barrachois project is what the company refers to as round two of their Tier 2 sites.
First tier projects include the one in Hillside Boularderie and another in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
In the case of Hillside Boularderie, residents expressed concerns about the project, including not being given a greater say on the location of the turbines.
“From the public consultation side we had a lot of pushback from Hillside. We haven’t and any complaints or anything from Barrachois. I don’t expect much, but we’ll see. They definitely pushed back quite a bit, but in the end there is nothing there was nothing they had concerns with that we didn’t address through the environmental assessment process.”
As for the Hillside Boularderie project, construction is expected to begin next week with road building and widening near the project site.
“We’ll then excavate for the foundations and pour the foundations before the winter. We’ll shut down for the winter and then in the spring the turbines will arrive and we’ll erect them in the spring and hopefully have them commissioned by early summer.”
Besides consulting the public on the Barrachois project, MacCallum said the upcoming public meeting will also offer people a chance to invest in the projects.
“Last year, for the Hillside and Gates Brook wind farms we are developing we went out and raised $5.5 million – so about 400 Nova Scotia families invested in those two project and those projects are on track and we expect them to be up and running by spring next year. Basically this is another round for new projects and another opportunity for people to buy into these projects and own part of the projects.”
A website – www.barrachoiscommunitywindfarm.ca – is also in the works to provide the public with project information, media and community engagement efforts on the Barrachois project.
MacCallum said it could be online by the end of the August.
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