The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board is recommending the Haeckel Hill wind turbine project get the green light.
The decision on June 29 comes with the caveat that proponent Northern Capital Energy must conduct a heritage resources impact assessment.
YESAB “determined the project is likely to have significant adverse effects to heritage resources,” YESAB’s evaluation report reads.
Commentary for the project was open for public comment from April 18 to May 2. During this period, YESAB heard concerns from a wide variety of public input sources, including the Department of Tourism and Culture, which had concerns about the heritage and historic value of the site.
The site may contain “moveable heritage resources such as paleological fossils as well as archeological, and ethnographic and historic objects, features or sites related to the historic occupations of the area,” the department said in its comments.
The Pueblo mine site is near the proposed road upgrade, the department said. Although there are “no known archaeological sites in the mapped project area,” it has not been previously studied for heritage resources.
“It is common practice for YESAB to recommend a heritage impact assessment … when there are elevated potential for heritage resources,” said Rob Yeomans, a spokesperson for YESAB. “This elevated potential is likely a result of the access road work or power line since the windmill would sit on an established lease.”
YESAB also heard concerns about the project’s potential impact on wildlife, especially bats and birds.
The project, which would see three to four 900-kilowatt wind turbines installed on Haeckel Hill for a total of 3.6 megawatts, was submitted to YESAB earlier this year. There are currently two older-model wind turbines on the site, one of which is completely inactive and one of which is partially active. Both would be removed and replaced.
At this stage, Yeomans said the development assessment board can either accept or reject YESAB’s recommendations.
Northern Capital Energy, a Vancouver-based company, was not available for comment by press time.
Pending final approval, the project could begin production as early as fall 2018.
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