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RM rejects 50-turbine wind farm project set for McLean area; Council passes new law prohibiting towers, wind farms
A proposed wind farm project near McLean, east of Regina, has been blown away before it started.
After listening to concerns from the public at a meeting last week, the RM of South Qu’Appelle passed a motion Tuesday morning to allow neither wind farms nor meteorological test towers in the area.
“(Council) looked at everything and that’s what we’ve decided,” said Reeve Jeannie Desrocher after the motion was passed six-to-one. Desrocher explained that Council would have had to amend the bylaw to allow the project, but it decided not to.
The developer, Renewable Energy Systems Canada (RES), proposed a 50-turbine project in two of the RM’s wards that would have taken at least five years to get up and running. But first they needed to erect a meteorological test tower to analyze the wind in the area.
“Everybody in the area knows that McLean is one of the highest points east of Regina. There’s a large ridge that rises along there,” said Development Manager Lucas Reindler before the vote was held.
The majority of the residents that showed up to the public meeting were opposed to the project. Many cited the controversial concerns of potential health effects that have been reported in other areas of the country from people living near wind turbines. The other concern was lowered property values.
“There’s no scientifically-proven reports that there are direct health causes, you know, turbine syndrome or electromagnetic radiation or anything like that,” Reindler claimed. “Turbines are not any more magical than any other electrical component.”
Reindler explained the only proven potential health effects are secondary health impacts like the stress people who are opposed to the idea and see the turbines daily might feel. He said to reduce that impact, RES started consultations and talked to people in the community very early-on in the process.
Health Canada is currently exploring the scientific relationship between noise and the health effects that have been reported by people living near turbines across the country. That report has been in the works since 2012 and is expected to be released sometime in 2014.
News Talk Radio reached out to RES Canada for comment Tuesday but Reindler was unavailable. The company did pass along the following statement via email, however:
“RES Canada is disappointed by the news that 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. 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.”
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