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Kings County citizens weigh-in on energy generation and conservation

It was clear from a large turnout at a recent public forum that people in Kings County are concerned the use and generation of energy. The county hosted an energy forum at Nova Scotia Community College’s Kingstec Campus Oct. 24 as part of the Kings 2050 regional planning project. Through a series of facilitated, roundtable discussions, participants had a chance to share their thoughts on how energy generation and conservation should develop.

Warren Peck was among the participants. A regular attendee at council meetings with his wife Nancy Denton Peck, the Black River Road resident became engaged in municipal politics during the debate over the municipality’s large-scale wind turbine bylaw established in 2011. Council repealed the bylaw in 2012.

Peck said, after the bylaw was recognized to be “flawed” and “inadequate,” he took a comment made by planning manager Ben Sivak to heart. The municipality has to look at energy in a more holistic way, Peck said, and more consideration has to be given to the long-term.

Peck took the initiative to develop a document, Review and Discussion Paper for a Comprehensive, Holistic Energy Plan for Kings County, and is distributing it to local municipal and provincial politicians.

“In this document, I really felt strongly about the efficient generation of energy, the efficient use of energy and conservation as being a foundation to any intelligent strategic plan for energy in Kings County,” Peck said.

He said the paper was a labour of love and a chance to become more educated on the topic. He had many discussions with citizens, several conversations with the Department of Energy, looked at options that should be considered and scrutinized several alternative technologies to see what the impact would be on our community. Several citizens reviewed the document as it was developed.

Principles developed through a collaborative approach with municipal staff and councillors, he said, would give broad guidelines, making sure energy technologies have social value and provide a cost benefit and woud improve Kings County’s contribution to the provincial Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Plan.

Peck said he hopes his effort will help others develop a deeper understanding of the topic.

Peck said he was pleased to see so many students, county councillors and citizens taking part in the energy forum. He said it was extremely encouraging and hopefully would lead to more collaborative sessions and discussions.

Some of the issues and questions addressed included appropriate locations for solar farms; whether or not small wind turbines are appropriate for urban areas; designing communities to reduce energy use and whether or not large wind farms should be treated differently than a single large-scale turbine.

Sivak said the way energy is generated and used in Nova Scotia is changing. Municipalities are working to adapt planning rules to address newer technologies like solar panels and wind turbine, he said, and the county wants to hear from a wide range of residents.

There were 95 people registered.

“We will use the great feedback from the forum to help us translate the 2050 vision into detailed policies and regulations,” Sivak said.