Most recently, The P.E.I. Energy Corporation (PEIEC) gave Eastern Kings a take it or leave it proposition on a new wind farm. Imagine how long a proposal would last if a crown corporation put a gun to Charlottetown with a proposal with no room for discussion?
PEIEC is good at its singular mandate to get the biggest turbine in the windiest location. However, there are good reasons for and against wind farms as there is good and bad community development.
The current proposal ignores studies showing wind turbine locations damage overall land values and do not attract population, both of which are contrary to community development. PEIEC gives no place for community input in planning to mitigate these factors, i.e. location or size of turbines.
I think it is because PEIEC considers locals incapable to grasp management of their own community affairs and PEIEC is afraid the community might recommend smaller turbines in remote areas with some local community ownership or taxation base.
The PEIEC website doesn’t show who its executive or directors are – we don’t know who is making the decisions, but we are quite certain there is no representatives from the rural communities most affected by it’s operations. We need to find a better way to conduct business on P.E.I. beyond the mysterious imperial colonial family compact which continues to pounce on rural P.E.I. Right now its’ windmills at all costs and to heck with the community concerns of local and summer residents and property owners.
In 2016 PEIEC made $9 million in profit, $5 million in depreciation and had $78 million in cash, primarily on the backs of local rural communities.
Imagine what local communities could achieve if they had a seat at the planning table and were fairly compensated – even something as basic as high speed Internet could be implemented.
The first round of windmills gave the Eastern Kings Community Council $25,000 a year – a pittance and a joke. Local land lessors must sign a non-disclosure agreement on fees while other landowners value decrease. PEIEC touts the $12,5000 it directs to the local community (directed by Charlottetown, not a local board). Though wind farms tout creation of jobs, the local economy and construction industry, busy with local and summer homes is real, is vibrant and employs real local people and it will be hurt by wind farms.
An analysis determining community compensation and development funds should be in the millions as offset by a loss in land values, loss in taxation base, loss of population growth and the impact on construction, and summer business development such as restaurants and accommodation.
The PEIEC offer to Eastern Kings should be refused for bad manners and bad form. No wind farms should be developed in Eastern P.E.I. until local communities have a rightful place at the planning and compensation table because two things are for certain – rural communities pay the socio-economic price of wind farms and secondly, the wind will always be blowing in Eastern P.E.I., so unless it’s the low brow pressure tactic of a bully, why the rush?
– Alan E. MacPhee is a Souris businessman and chairman of Islandwide Hospital Access
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