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Dairy Air Wind Project draws Quebec town opposition

HOLLAND – A Quebec town has joined the opposition to the proposed Dairy Air Wind turbine.

Coaticook, north of Norton and Holland, is in the viewshed of the planned 500-foot-tall turbine on a Dairy Air Farm field and wants to send representatives to be heard at hearings on the project before the Vermont Public Service Board.

Coaticook has filed a request for intervention based on what the town says would be the impact on the area’s economy.

“This project might affect our tourism activity for that sector,” stated town official Francois Frechette in a letter to the PSB March 17.

“It is a sector that attracts thousands of visitors every year and growing. The scenery that would be affected by the presence of a wind turbine (provides) well-known economic activity for our region,” he wrote. “Furthermore, we are also concerned about the fact that it might lead to other or bigger projects of the same kind in this area.”

“The project … may have negative repercussions for us,” he added.

“We believe that the ways to protect our right in this matter are limited. Since we are across the border, being heard in person is the way to proceed for us.”

Five other Quebec towns are in the viewshed within a 10-mile radius and are also statutory “interested persons” in the project, including Stanstead, which actively opposed a large turbine once proposed for the Davis dairy farm next to the Interstate 91 port of entry.

The developer for that project, Encore, withdrew the petition for that wind turbine but not before intense opposition from Quebec residents and communities drew national attention in Canada. That wind turbine site was less than a mile from the Quebec-Vermont border, much closer than the Dairy Air Wind site.

In Vermont, other communities notified aside from Holland include Charleston, Derby, Morgan, Norton, Newport City and the Unified Towns and Gores in Essex County plus Derby Line and Derby Center villages.

Several abutting neighbors and a community group have asked for status to intervene in the project’s hearings.