For those who wonder which way the wind is blowing on the Maine Aqua-Ventus Project, there’s a new website in town.
The Bristol Wind Power Advisory Committee (WPAC) last week launched Bristol Matters to help residents learn more about the proposed wind power project.
Jess Yates, who along with six members of the WPAC started the website, said the goal is to spread as much information about the project as possible.
“The WPAC decided to launch a website in order to provide information to Bristol’s citizens about the Maine Aqua Ventus Proposal to establish a wind energy project in the University of Maine test site off Monhegan Island,” she said. “And (to) solicit input from Bristol’s citizens regarding their opinions about the proposal.”
The WPAC was founded shortly after a November 14 public meeting in which the public voiced mainly concerns about the proposed wind farm, which would be situated a few miles off the coast of Monhegan and make landfall in New Harbor.
“Bristol’s town selectmen created the Wind Power Advisory Committee in order to inform Bristol’s citizens about the Maine Aqua Ventus Wind Project, to evaluate Bristol’s role in, and authority over, the project, and act on behalf of Bristol, as necessary,” Yates said. “The selectmen did indeed create this committee in order to address the concerns and needs illuminated in the public meeting organized by (Maine Aqua-Ventus) in the fall of 2013.”
But, the website isn’t just about spreading information; it’s about gathering it too, Yates said.
“The WPAC hopes the website’s opinion survey will provide us with a picture of how the town’s citizens are currently feeling about the project,” she said. “More importantly, however, it allows those taking the survey to share comments, to ask questions for clarification, and generally seek additional information regarding the project.”
The website is meant to be as unbiased as possible; it lists both the pros and cons of the project and Yates said the first priority is simply pumping information through Bristol and that the town is well-represented as the proceedings move forward.
Before the website launch there were very few Bristol-centric resources, Yates said.
“A primary issue of concern for the WPAC is the lack of specific information about what this will mean for our town in both the short and long terms,” she said. “We are working diligently to provide real-time information to the town as it becomes available — the website is constantly updated to reflect our most current knowledge of the project.”
Regardless if Bristol is where the project will eventually make landfall or not, the WPAC plans to represent the town, Yates said.
“The WPAC is in full recognition of the fact that Bristol may not actually ‘have a say’ in this matter — although we have not determined that fully yet,” she said, “but, it is the WPAC’s duty to inform and represent the town. The website is a crucial component of that process.”
The WPAC’s next meeting will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Bristol Town Hall.