A vote by the council for the RM of South Qu’Appelle has knocked the wind out of the sails of a proposed renewable-energy project in that community.
Renalda Pickering, a mother of three, has been opposed to the wind turbine farm project from Day 1 and could not be happier with the turn of events.
“I’m relieved,” she said after the vote.
Last week, a public meeting was held in McLean so the council could hear from the ratepayers in the RM.
It was decided that council would take into consideration everything presented, by both sides, before making a final decision on the project.
On Tuesday, the reeve and the six council members voted on the proposed wind turbine farm.
A motion was put forward to not allow any change to the bylaw to allow test towers or wind farms in the RM and to cease all communication with RES Canada – the company behind the project.
Jeannie DesRocher, reeve for the RM of South Qu’Appelle, said in previous interviews that she was in full support of the project because of what it could mean for the RM.
She held firm to her stance until the end.
All six councillors voted to accept the motion while DesRocher voted to reject the motion.
“Personally, I am concerned about us making calls about what a landowner can or cannot do in regards to whether he can farm the land and the wind or just the land,” she said after last week’s public meeting. “I believe it’s the landowners choice to do this. The biggest thing is that it doesn’t affect people right beside him.”
DesRocher supports a wind farm and wind energy, in general, based on her research.
She has no regrets about her decision.
“I supported it, but it’s democracy and council made it very resounding that they don’t want (the wind farm),” she said. “So that’s the direction we go.”
Pickering said she’s happy with Tuesday’s outcome.
“It finally feels like the ratepayers have been heard,” she said.
Pickering said it was a long hard fight that had an impact on the RM.
“I hope that the fabric that has been torn can be repaired in the community,” she said. “I think we have a long road ahead of us as far as rebuilding the community.”
Pickering said it would probably take a couple days for the news to sink in.
“It’s a good day, for many of us, who have fought against this project for almost a whole year,” she said. “My son went with me to the meeting and I felt like shouting to the rooftops ‘My kids have their mom back.”
In an email, Lucas Reindler, development manager with RES Canada, said the company was disappointed by the news that the council voted against allowing the installation of a met tower, which is used to measure wind speeds in the area.
“We acknowledge that some in the community still have questions about wind power, and addressing their concerns is something we take very seriously,” he said. “We remain dedicated to this project, to the community, and to the consultation process. We wish to remain engaged with council and the broader community as we provide information and build support and understanding for our proposal.”
Pickering said she hopes RES Canada will respect council’s decision and not contact the RM again.
“For further wind companies that might come knocking on our RM’s door, well hopefully council will see what this brought on and see the conflict it brought to the community and say no to any other wind company,” she said.
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