Wind turbines

Some residents in the Rural Municipality of Eastern Kings oppose the proposed expansion to the wind farm while others see it as a positive move for the community.

It makes sense for the community economically, resident Judy Coffin said.

“The windmills come with more infrastructure,” she said.

“You’ve got money coming in from construction and look at the young people who could benefit from jobs.”

Ms Coffin’s comments were made following a public meeting hosted by the province at Eastern Kings Rec Centre last week where close to three dozen people received information on an Environmental Impact Assessment put forward by PEI Energy Corporation.

Public input is a large part of that process.

Dale Thompson, Environmental Assessment officer with the province said the role of the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change is to make sure the assessment process is followed by the PEIEC.

“The questions and comments made tonight (and over the next 30 days), we will send them to PEIEC and they send their response back to us. We make a judgement call on whether or not the response was satisfactory,” Mr Thompson explained.

The department then makes a recommendation to the minister as to whether the project should go ahead.

“Once the 30 day time period is up there is no real time line as to how long the process will take,” he added.

“It all depends on the responses and how much back and forth there needs to be.”

Resident Don Cheverie thinks the process is flawed.

“Because they aren’t complete yet how can (PEIEC) go forward?” he said, referring to the fact preliminary work is already being done on the proposed site in and around the East Lake Creek watershed.

Janet Blackadar, Manager Environmental Sciences with Wood Group, the consulting firm hired to do the assessment, said it is a tool used early in the process to help design the project.

“Personally I think they are putting it in the wrong area,” Mr Cheverie said. “If they are going to do it put it in a field somewhere where the wildlife is not there or wetlands to decimate.”

Donald Bergeron agrees.

“I’d like to see the ones that are already there gone,” he said.

The assessment is also being reviewed by a technical committee of both provincial and federal experts, Mr Thompson said.

The assessment is one part of the package being submitted to the municipal council in order for them to issue a building permit for the project.

“Everybody has got to be in agreement for this project to go ahead,” Mr Thompson said.

The community will hold its public meeting on Wednesday December 4 at 7 pm.

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