It was standing room only in the council chambers in Tusket Thursday during Argyle council's meeting on the wind farm project. Eric Bourque photo
The Municipality of Argyle is looking to increase the minimum distance for new wind farm projects to 1,000 metres from homes, more than three times or so what it is now, but many people who attended the Thursday night meeting where Argyle council made its decision had hoped for a different outcome.
The council session took place precisely a week after a community meeting in Comeau’s Hill, where residents of the Little River Harbour/Comeau’s Hill area expressed their opposition to a wind farm proposed for the area, saying they have concerns about how the project could affect their health and the environment, among other things.
They called for the project to be put on hold so that more information could be gathered on wind farm development and its potential impact.
Many of the same people who attended that meeting on July 12 were in Tusket seven days later, as Argyle council met to discuss a proposal from Anaia Global Renewable Energies to establish a wind farm consisting of at least 15 or 16 turbines.
The meeting – held before a standing-room-only crowd – included several presentations (by the municipality’s chief administrative officer, by the planner and by a representative of the developer of the proposed wind farm).
Members of the public then had a chance to speak. The presenters included residents of the Annapolis Valley, where wind farms also have been a big issue.
The valley residents -- including a retired Acadia University professor -- related stories and cited research about the harmful effects of wind farms and urged Argyle council to think about what they described as the considerable negative impact of such developments.
Residents living in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm got to speak as well and reiterated many of the concerns that had been brought up the previous week in Comeau’s Hill.
The Municipality of Argyle says the information it has received regarding wind farms says they are safe.
As for the new setback requirement, the municipality already had been planning – based on the work of its planning advisory committee – to make it 1,000 metres.
The municipality has a process it has to go through before the new distance becomes law, but Anaia has said it was planning to make the 1.000-metre setback a part of its project.
The company is still awaiting word form the province regarding the environmental assessment for its project. It expects to get word on this by mid-August or September, a company representative said.