Moratorium on non-approved wind turbines in Colchester County may be extended

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TRURO - A moratorium on all non-approved wind turbine applications in Colchester County may be extended for a significant amount of time.

The county’s planning advisory committee (PAC) recently  decided to review the municipality's wind turbine bylaw after concerns regarding setback distances for industrial wind turbines were raised last summer by a citizens' group known as the Friends of Harmony Camden. A wind turbine has been proposed for the Lower Harmony area.

On Thursday night, Colchester Council committee ultimately decided to suggest to county council at the end of the month to extend the moratorium for 14 months while a Health Canada study is completed and publicized regarding scientific information relating to whether or not there are health issues associated with wind turbines.

The motion was suggested by Coun. Lloyd Gibbs and supported by everyone except Coun. Doug MacInnes.

About 30 people attended the meeting, consistently cheering when the idea was reiterated.

Brian Whidden lives 1.6 km from the proposed Lower Harmony wind turbine site. He was thrilled with the moratorium extension.

"This is a great first step... I'm very surprised with the outcome," Whidden told the Truro Daily News immediately following the vote.

"We've been at this for a year and a half and with all the hurdles we haven't had a lot" of success, he said.

The community's Sharon Eisemann was ecstatic.

"I'm so happy because of the health reasons," she said, adding she now believes "our voice is being heard. It's refreshing when people in government are listening to the public."

Gibbs said the $1.8-million health study would include blood pressure, heart rate, measured sleep patterns and other potential stresses related to wind turbines.

"Why jeopardize citizens ... we can wait another 14 months," said Gibbs. "We were all concerned about health issues and the unknown with fracking, why is this different?"

MacInnes expressed concern with the length of the health study, saying government-based projects often are a lengthy process.

"How long will it take? Until then we are shutting down development in Colchester County," said MacInnes.

Another related issue dealt with was the review of an updated draft of the wind turbine development bylaw.

Council committee voted to recommend to council that the draft proceed to a first reading based on some updates. Those include recommending setbacks increase from 700 to 1,000 metres, suggesting a requirement to meet a maximum sound standard of 36 dBA measured at existing dwellings, having a decommissioning agreement between the land owner and developer, and implementing more effective communication and advance notice with all property owners within two kms of a proposed site.

Coun. Tom Taggart said his biggest concern related to the potential impact of infrasound created by the turbines. He said he has spoken to sound engineers and was told “infrasound has the potential to affect five per cent of the population to varying degrees.”

Another concern, said Coun. Christine Blair, was the setbacks. Blair prefers they be set at a minimum of 1,500 metres.

The vote, which has to proceed to county council for a month-end vote, passed by a count of 8 to 4. Councillors Blair, Gibbs, Wade Parker and Karen MacKenzie voted against the motion.

 

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

Organizations: PAC, Colchester Council, Health Canada Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Colchester County, Lower Harmony

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  • TOXIC EXHAUSTED
    September 14, 2013 - 17:16

    wait? for a bogus study initiated by Harper, who wants to open up the ARTIC to drilling,,,(as soon as global warming melts the ice more places for drilling will appear)....once and for all, it is not the wind turbines causing any stress, it is fear and ignorance fueled by misinformation....in one word stupidity in the way mankind manages our activity on Mother Earth... good on you McInnis....the rest of the council makes me want to conduct my own study - to sit in my car, in the garage, with the motor running and contemplate what makes mankind worthy ..... my study will prove if we do not change energy sources, we will continue to harm our children and all the animal children with the toxic exhaust from burning fossil fuels...and by the way Fukushima is still emitting radiation particles from the melted cores still reacting underground...more stupidity.....hard to believe....???@$%#^%@

  • Mike Barnard
    September 13, 2013 - 10:14

    The council has been listening to fear, uncertainty and doubt mongers, not to useful advisors. Wind farms don’t harm human health, anti-wind campaigners do. 19 reviews world wide of all of the available research and complaints by credible, independent groups have cleared wind farms of health impacts. Meanwhile, studies in the UK, Australia and New Zealand point the finger at anti-wind lobbyists spreading health fears and jacking up stress. http://barnardonwind.com/2013/02/17/wind-farms-dont-make-people-sick-so-why-the-complaints/ Infrasound produced by wind farms is harmless; humans evolved with infrasound and wind farms produce less than waves on a beach, yet beach front property is in major demand. http://barnardonwind.com/2013/02/20/humans-evolved-with-infrasound-is-there-any-truth-to-health-concerns-about-it/

  • chief wiggam
    September 13, 2013 - 09:04

    i think they should have inited some millbrook people as they have a veto of sorts when it comes to power.

  • Nancy Samson
    September 13, 2013 - 08:32

    It is great to see that our councillors are listening to us. It is so reassuring.