New wind farm causes storm of controversy in eastern P.E.I.

Steve Sharratt
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SOURIS — Wind power is creating a storm of controversy these days as a battle is erupting over the location of a second wind farm that could generate $9-million for the region of eastern Kings.

Camps concerned with noise and health issues, losing potential income, and summer cottagers from the U.S. threatening legal action, are all part of the mix that’s whipping up windmill woe for the local community council representing the area east of Souris.

And the issue, that exploded at a meeting last week with upset landowners, is now on the agenda of the North East (P.E.I.) Community Alliance which has been asked to provide input when it meets this week.

“It’s not our jurisdiction, it’s up to the community, but we will provide some help if we can and if we’re asked,’’ NECA interim chairman Steve Cheverie said Monday. “We won’t tell people what to do, but we do support the council who are not opposed to windmills, just the site proposed by government.”

The request for NECA to review the situation follows a meeting held last week by landowners at the Munn’s Road Community Centre. Some landowners are upset the Eastern Kings community council — which was not present — has failed to support a community referendum held this spring that approved the proposed second wind farm in a 171 to 137 vote.

However, the meeting wasn’t unanimous against the council’s change of heart. Many were concerned about the health effects of more windmills and the possible property devaluation. Some have even threatened the council with legal action over the matter if they allow the turbines to go ahead. The government is now considering an alternate site at the crossroads of Hermanville on the northeastern shore where barely two dozen people reside.

“It’s getting to be a very hot issue,’’ said Souris Mayor David MacDonald.

“Some of the most vocal are some wealthy from away people who have cottages in the region and say it will spoil their properties. They weren’t allowed to vote as I understand it and not being full-time taxpayers, why should they?”

Cheverie said NECA — a new group representing the entire eastern peninsula — would support the local community council, but not tell them what to do. The council had recommended a second site for government (further from homes in the area), but the province found it unacceptable because of less wind.

“I think the landowners called the meeting last week to drum up more local support for their cause, but it didn’t quite turn out that way,’’ said Cheverie, who was not in attendance. “There’s a misconception that the council has said no to windmills….that’s not the case, they just wanted a second location to be used that was less invasive.”

A second wind farm would add 30 megawatts to the province’s electricity production and bump total production from wind to the 30 per cent range. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said there will be about $9-million over a 15-year period on the table. The financial incentives include $200,000 for landowners, and a $125,000 annual trust for the community.

The landowner meeting last week said it would form a corporation to take control of the proposed wind turbine expansion and sue the council for lost revenue. Fisherman Walter Bruce said council failed to honour a referendum in April in favour of the wind farm and some residents were fear mongering over adverse health effects. There is also controversy over the wording of the referendum question; “are you in favour of a new wind farm in our community?”

The council, which did not attend the landowners meeting, opted against the referendum decision saying the province would not consider another location for the new wind farm further from private homes. Many at the meeting cited health concerns and applauded the council for proposing a less populated area.

MacDonald said hosting a referendum was a mistake made by his colleagues on the Eastern Kings community council and he questioned how many will want to re-offer for the upcoming fall elections.

“A referendum is the American way,’’ he said. “In my opinion, they’d been better off to hold a public meeting and if there was a large enough outcry….deny the permit. But considering the options we have in Atlantic Canada, wind farms are the way to go.”

 

montague@theguardian.pe.ca

 

 

Organizations: Community Alliance, Road Community Centre

Geographic location: Eastern Kings, SOURIS, Eastern P.E.I. U.S. North East Hermanville Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Jean MacDonald Selines
    July 16, 2012 - 09:53

    I am one of those "landowners from away" and I do pay taxes. More importantly I have very deep roots as a Northsider. There are many misconceptions about wind farms and Health Canada has just began study on them. My family owns property in Hermanville and we are concerned about the health side effects, Why not wait until the study is completed. The visual blight and the constant sound created by these mamouth structures will not improve the quality of life in our beloved northside. I'm sure Hermanville was picked because of the lack of population but residents in surrounding areas will also be affected. The wind farms will greatly affect property values for years to come. The north east end of the Island has always been pristine and peaceful with gorgeous beaches. I wonder how it will look with a swath of wind turbines as the outstanding landmark?

  • downunder
    June 07, 2012 - 19:12

    Cut the dragon’s head and FIRE the DEPUTY MINISTER. He will remain in office after the Minister is gone doing the same dirty work “over and over again”

  • Jeff Klein
    June 06, 2012 - 18:36

    From "A not full time tax payer?"...What is the Mayor of Souris been smoking or drinking.?Those "not full time tax payers" from away pay double taxes because they love being there. How about some civility and recognizing that we are ALL residents of the community, whether we are there year round or seasonal?

  • Garth Staples
    June 06, 2012 - 15:17

    Wes will put them in the scenic community of Sea View, Queens County. A high wind regime and no property owners that will oppose the PEI Energy Corporation up there, eh?

  • This is nonsense
    June 06, 2012 - 12:19

    We have to stop this fighting all together! I live in the Eastern Kings area and I am so saddened about what is happening all because of money! Yes we live in an area where we can contribute to wind energy. I am all for it BUT not when it is detrimental to the health of residents in our area. Lets take a look at the big picture of what is happening and then at the end can you tell me is it right or wrong Community members are probably finding it hard to even look at their neighbors anymore.... The council that was formed DID the right thing and are constantley being harassed by the landowner who "want to sue" the council. THANK YOU FOR CHOSING SAFETY OVER SELFISHNESS Relatives and close friends are hurt at each other,. This is not right. Life is way to short to be selling each other out like that.I believe the ones who are trying to keep the pot boiling should be totally ashamed of yourselves for being so greedy. This area has gotten along just fine and supported every business before the windmills came along. What is the change all of a sudden! Lets lay this issue down and start being the friendly compassionate community that we were always recognized for.

    • Totally Agree
      June 06, 2012 - 14:29

      AMEN to this comment. Couldn't agree more. Such a beautiful community torn to pieces !!!

  • downunder
    June 06, 2012 - 11:57

    Why is the deputy minister meeting with the landowners bypassing the elected Council? Steve McLean should be asked to resign immediately!

    • I live here to
      June 06, 2012 - 16:09

      The deputy minister should be asked to resign, and anyone higher up that knows what is taking place. We have three people working in the premiers office from the eastern end, and the reason two of them are there are because they lost there seat, if these two people had of did anything they would still be at the cabinet table. I am thinking it will be very hard for a liberal to be elected in this area for a long time, when the premier sees protest after protest he might actually think, maybe I am doing something wrong. Be honest and don't do the double talk people will actually elect you again.

  • DaveP
    June 06, 2012 - 10:54

    I live in Scotland which is being trashed by wind turbines. The only people who want them are politicians, landowners and turbine owners. I love PEI, so please resist the turbine menace. If you want to ruin your landscape, damage peoples health, massacre birds, massacre bats, destroy tourism and pay more for electricity, then build them. Please read the link below if you need convincing. http://thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/hughes-windpower.pdf

  • take the windmills and shove them
    June 06, 2012 - 07:25

    who in there right mind would want windmills handy any home ? it is time for all Islanders to put a stop to any more before our land is worth nothing We have them up west here and they have made the landscape look as though we don't know if our brain is working or not .

  • isargent
    June 06, 2012 - 06:49

    Property owners on the NE coastline of Kings county may not be aware that the government quietly confiscated the former right of way of a horse and buggy trail once known as "Queens Road" ..and designated it as a non-essential highway to which no entry is permitted. Property values have already taken a nosedive of about 75% according to an IRAC ruling last October that was reported in The Guardian. http://www.irac.pe.ca/document.aspx?file=orders/RealProperty/2011/LT11-02.htm

  • Alma McDonald
    June 06, 2012 - 06:08

    Some people would sell their grandmother for a bushel of apples, - the windmills discourage tourisme, and you are now in the process to encouraging seasonal residents to move stakes too. They pay double property taxes and spend their money here during the time they are here, ---- the COUNCIL DID THE RIGHT THING, Ghiz is just trying to make it look like he is doing SOMETHING, - meanwhile he is setting country folks against each other, while he sit in Charlottetown and throw you morsels. - Respect each other and don't be hunting fools gold.

  • someone who cares
    June 05, 2012 - 22:28

    it's to bad that there is so much miss information going around, the council's proposed location on Tarantum Rd in fact i believe had a wind regime study done, something apparently Wes Sheridan, his deputy Minister McLean and others want to forget, i would be surprised to find that the hermanville location had better wind. That's one point. If the government really wanted to use the Hermanville site, why did the deputy minister McLean instiage the group of 19 land owners, and propose to them that they should deal direct via a corporation with the government and bypass their community, that's got to be foul play? That's Point 2. Why does government not work with the community to locate the expansion in a location close to existing infra structure, in Eastern Kings. That's point 3. Why is the representative from PEI Energy delivering messages to council through residents that he's agreed to move hydro lines when they such an offer should be delivered officially, in writing, directly to council? that's not so much a point as very odd..... isin't it? There is a lot the matter with this, mostly on the part of a provincial government that believes it has a divine mandate, and that it's not important to protect rural communities, and nurture them to the extent that Charlottetown is pampered, that's also not a point, it's just sad. hey, what do i know, just seems to me like there is a clear option forward to make everyone happy, expand on tarantum rd, complete the proper due process, benefit the community and it residents, how hard is it to do the right thing. I guess in dear old Prince Edward Island it's not just hard, it's darned near impossible. At this point in time anyway.

  • megan macdonald
    June 05, 2012 - 20:56

    what is it with this government, do they actually set out to starts wars between folks, - instead of trying to unify they create and encourage fights within communities , - health and being able to sell the noisy properties are two vital things, and ther people have no right to impose things on people that have adverse effect on them, - what a selfish bunch trying to ruin other people- shame on you --

    • Not ME
      June 06, 2012 - 10:17

      This is not the Megan MacDonald from South Lake !!!

    • NOT ME
      June 06, 2012 - 10:23

      This is not the Megan MacDonald from South Lake !!!!!

  • wow...
    June 05, 2012 - 20:27

    David MacDonald needs to keep his uneducated comments about a process he knows nothing about to himself. Get the facts, Mr. MacDonald, then go spout off to the media.

  • EK
    June 05, 2012 - 19:27

    Mayor MacDonald has nothing to do with this - why would he even comment on the issue.

  • Stop them now while you can
    June 05, 2012 - 19:16

    Wind Farms are not the bonanza you think they are..the studies are not finished and most have been finaced by the wind farm promoters.....who in their right mind would want those montrosities even 2-3 miles away.........it takes the rural feeling away,robs conmmunities of their charm.The constant humm of the propellers,lights flashing,service vehicles, and the threat of fires..yes fires check YOU TUBE ...they do burn....and how do you fight a fire that high,you don't..you have to let it fall down.....very dangerous........just look how they have ruined the New Brunswick Nova Scotia border.........VOTE NO.

  • Island voter
    June 05, 2012 - 18:58

    Is there any wonder the northeast ern P.E.I. is turning into a desolate wasteland where very few people want to live. Too many "Me First" stakeholders!

  • Serious Reader
    June 05, 2012 - 18:56

    --To Quote Souris Mayor David MacDonald "not being full-time taxpayers, why should they?” Can you explain what a "full-time taxpayer" is? And I would bet that most of those "wealthy from away people who have cottages in the region" also have roots and family in this area.....care deeply for the land ...contribute much to the area....And pay plenty of taxes.....Be careful whose hand you bite!

  • thought I wanted them
    June 05, 2012 - 18:44

    I Live Up East and I believe we can have windmills up here, but only under conditions that the council have stated. The last meeting last week was called by a few greedy land owners that might have gotten a windmill on there property, if they did not have the right property we would never see or here tell of them. Colin Lavie was quoted in The Graphic last week saying the community was divided, after being at that last meeting I think the community is stronger then it ever was. One person against the entire community that does not look divided to me. Thank You Eastern Kings Community Council for taking the stand you did.

  • Barb
    June 05, 2012 - 18:33

    People in the Souris area complaining about something? Imagine that.

    • Of course..
      June 06, 2012 - 06:48

      Barb, not hard to tell you are from town. No reason to complain when you get everything you want and more. You are one of the "lucky" ones not being screwed by the government.

  • opinionated
    June 05, 2012 - 16:54

    Who believes anything Wes Sheridan says.