The following letter was submitted by Dianne Powell, a long time resident of Wentworth Valley, to Cumberland County as part of their request for public input on regulations controlling small & large wind turbines.
Thank you to Cumberland council for seeking input on this extremely controversial issue.
One concern of mine is that the time frame for this input and review is short – only 6 months designated starting in December, 2021 when Xmas, school breaks, possible holiday travel is the major concern for many people. Furthermore, the ever-present and ever-changing restrictions related to COVID 19 should be considered as a limiting factor for this narrow time frame. Please do not rush this process simply because you have set a schedule; take the time necessary to make a fully informed decision.
By now, I am sure Council is aware of the history of wind projects in this area; someone/some company (always from some other part of Canada) has been trying to establish a commercial wind farm in this area since 2004 – always against the wishes of a majority of residents. Only the determined push back from community groups of volunteers has saved the area from this gross intrusion. Now the communities are under threat again, again from “outsiders” who have little understanding of the area or affinity for it apart from the money they think they can make. Wisely, Council has paused and taken time to consider the ramifications of such projects on small rural communities.
As a long-time resident of Wentworth, I have been active over the years in trying to preserve this area from massive power lines, four–lane highways, clear cutting, school closures.. You need only spend a few minutes on the website of the Protect Wentworth Valley association to gain an understanding of the importance and value of preserving this area. It is one of beauty- fall colours, for example; sanctuary – mainland moose habitat, for example; recreation – skiing, hiking, biking,for example; and a community that values nature and rural living.
Taking all of those into account it would seem unconscionable that Council would allow a commercial wind farm to be established here. Although the short term financial allurements of a proponent may seem significant, Council would do well to consider the long term, permanent tax benefits of an expanding community of people establishing homes here for recreational benefits and life style – a community that is growing yearly and significantly. The folks buying land and building homes are looking to the long term benefits of being part of this community in the near future.
Although my immediate concern is, of course, this very area where I have made my life and my desire to protect its integrity, I would ask Council to be very wary of any future proponent for commercial wind farms and the supposed benefits of such. Wentworth is not the only area in the province struggling to maintain its identity and you have provided some important information in your document “Memo on current wind farm regulations of 2021”.
Wind is but one source of alternate power and we are all aware of the necessity of alternate energy supplies. But destroying communities
for short term gain simply cannot be part of a plan for the future. It is Council’s duty to think and plan long term. And, long term, the benefits of a vibrant, active, productive, desirable living space in a community like Wentworth far outweighs any short term benefit of a commercial wind farm. So, while it is necessary to establish setbacks, noise and light allowances, other technical aspects for projects, if a community is opposed to the project and can prove why it is, just say no.
Please listen to the residents – full and part time – of this wonderful, beautiful area and make it impossible for such commercial ventures to destroy our environment.
Wentworth Station, NS