Eastern Kings Municipal Council continues to consider the wind turbine proposal submitted by PEI Energy Corporation while residents remain divided.
“I would hope we can resolve this issue without tearing our community apart,” long time resident Charlie MacDonald said, referring to divisions over the initial wind farm installation a dozen years ago.
“Lets get our act together and get this resolved in some way that will help us all.”
For the first time since the proposed PEI Energy Corporation project was announced earlier this year, several community members have spoken out publicly supporting the expansion. Last week the public was invited to have their say on the 30 MW wind turbine proposal which has been on the table since the beginning of the year.
A month ago PEIEC put in a preliminary application to the municipality for a permit to go ahead with the project. They also asked for a variance to the current bylaw which indicates no large-scale wind turbines shall be permitted within two kilometres of the shore.
The meeting took place on one of the hottest days of the summer, a fact pointed out by resident Boyd Rose.
“We’ve come to discuss a supposed environmentally friendly and sustainable energy source tonight of all nights,” Mr Rose said. “Wind turbines, to my knowledge, are the most environmentally friendly way to produce electricity that we need more and more of every day.
“I have kids and grandkids and I don’t want to burn coal anymore to make electricity; I don’t want to burn fossil fuels to make electricity.”
Both Mr Rose and Mr MacDonald were among several individuals who were very disappointed in the accusations made against Mayor Grace Cameron surrounding conflict of interest.
A letter sent to council by lawyer Peter Ghiz outlines several concerns of the Eastern Kings Community Association, a group of residents opposed to the wind farm as is.
The group says Mayor Cameron is in conflict of interest in participating in any wind farm talks as she has immediate family who own land in the area of the proposal.
Deputy Mayor Danielle Elliott said council did not respond to the letter.
“We are following the process set out in our bylaws and our plan is to discuss what we heard at this meeting and continue with the process,” she said.
Resident Georgia Bruce said enough is enough.
“(Wind turbines) did depreciate land value and the only ones benefiting from this are the ones getting a paycheck,” Ms Bruce said. “Lets stop this conversation and be done with it once and for all.”
Presentations were also made by residents and non residents pointing out the detriment wind turbines could cause to the environment.
Biologist Rosemary Curley focused on endangered species such as the little brown bat.
“We don’t know the results of the environmental assessments in the woodland areas near East Lake, but I am assuming there are bats,” Ms Curley said, noting even if there is an environmental assessment for the turbines it doesn’t take endangered species under consideration.
The proposed area for the turbine encompasses East Lake and East Lake Creek, but stays out of the area know as the Red Triangle, a bird migration area identified as a protected area when the first set of turbines went up in 2006-2007.
Resident Danny Sweeney is against having more wind turbines for the simple reason he believes there are health issues associated with turbines that aren’t being addressed.
Even so he said following the bylaws already in place is important.
Close to 100 people attended the meeting on July 31.
“We will take everything we’ve heard this evening under consideration as to whether we will go forward with the process or not,” Deputy Mayor Elliott said.
The next monthly meeting of municipal council is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13.