Pugwash wind project damaging says Elizabeth May Leader of the Green Party

From the Editor

I thank Elizabeth May for getting involved. Yes 500 meters is too close to homes. Here in Bruce County Ontario the setback is a mere 450 meters. The people here asked for a 1km setback at an OMB hearing, but in the end, after a 7 week hearing the OMB agreed with both the MOE and Enbridge that 450 meters is a safe distance. It is not.

Elizabeth May is all for wind power but not when it’s forced upon those residents living near giant windfarms such as the one proposed for the Gulf Shore.

The leader of Canada’s Green Party feels wind energy has great potential but is concerned when a company like Atlantic Wind Power chooses the wrong site because it runs the risk of discrediting renewable energy.

“We don’t want anything that stands in the way of the effective uptake of wind energy, but when you choose the wrong place and are not sensitive to local concerns it’s a real mistake,” May said. “Shorelines, where people have a lot of cottages, are not a good place. I haven’t gone and measured it myself, but the Pugwash beach is very much up against the 500-metre limit and that’s an unreasonably close spot.”

While the Green Party supports wind energy as a renewable energy source, May said the party also stands for grassroots decision-making.

Atlantic Wind Power Corporation plans to erect between 20 and 27 110-metre high wind turbines on the Gulf Shore near Pugwash. Project opponents want a two-kilometre separation between their properties and the proposed project, but the Municipality of Cumberland recently passed a bylaw setting the distance at the greater of 500 metres or three times the height of the turbine.

May believes the health concerns being raised by Gulf Shore residents are more than fear-mongering.

“Anyone who objects to wind farms because they’re ugly I’m not really impressed with, but as a health issue if you’re going to be that close it’s going to affect the quality of your life,” she said.

By Darrell Cole

Amherst Daily News

25 July 2007

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