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Martock wind turbines raise water worries

WINDSOR – Some Martock landowners are concerned about wind turbines being erected on watershed land.

Under the name Martock Ridge Community Wind Project, Scotian WindFields Inc. will put up three Vestas V100 turbines on land leased from the Town of Windsor.

In a news release, the landowners point out that the location of the turbines is within 100 metres of Falls Brook, which carries water from Mill Lakes, the only drinking source for the town and adjacent areas.

“We were under the assumption that there would be no development in this area,” landowner Terry Daniels said.

“A major road has to be built and serviced 12 months of the year and that road is going in the worst possible location. They could go south one kilometre and they would be away from the watershed.”

Landowner Elliott Daniels said the group is worried that this is going to set a precedent for other developments around the province.

The group stressed that it is not against the wind turbines but doesn’t think these structures should be built and operated on watershed land.

Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley said the town believes the work can be done safely and this is a good project.

“We thought, from the start, it was a good plan,” Beazley said. “We’ve looked at everything as far as the environment is concerned.

“The trickiest part is construction. Trucks will be going up and down, but there are safeguards. We are confident it can be done safely.”

The town still has to negotiate a lease agreement, and Beazley said staff will go through it line by line to make sure safeguards and checks and balances are in place. Council will have to approve the lease agreement.

In their release, the landowners pointed out that land will have to be clear cut and a road will have to be built to standards that will permit the use of heavy industrial equipment. The road will cross two “special category wetlands” that are “subject to significant erosion even with minor disturbance.”

“For 30 years, the town worked in co-operation with over 40 private landowners to develop and implement best practices within the watershed,” the release said. “Now the same lands will be clear cut and laid to waste to construct roads, dig … pits and construct bases for the towers.”

Beazley said he understands the landowners’ concern for watershed protection, but the Environment Department has looked at and approved the project, as has the Municipality of the District of West Hants through its development agreement.

“We took a look at the risks as well as the safeguards,” he said.

Daniel Roscoe, Scotian WindFields’ chief operating officer, said his company is aware of the watershed designation in the area where the wind turbines will go. Roscoe said there will be several cautionary procedures in place, including an erosion and sediment control plan, an independent environmental monitor to oversee the operation and an environmental protection plan.

“We hope to start as soon as the development agreement is signed, and we would like to see the turbines up and running 12 months from now,” Roscoe said.

Roscoe said the Kent Hills wind farm near Moncton is in a watershed, and wind projects are being proposed in the Pockwock and Lake Major watersheds in Halifax Regional Municipality.