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  • Writer's pictureProtect Wentworth Valley

A letter to Cumberland County's Planning Department

The following letter was submitted by Andrew Johnston to Cumberland County as part of their request for public input on regulations controlling small & large wind turbines.

Dear Cumberland County Planning,

First, congratulations go to Nelson Bezanson for his work on wind turbines and land use. His documents are far superior to anything produced by the companies championing industrial wind turbines.

That being said, I do have a few suggestions on the document recently produced by Mr. Bezanson.

Community engagement and action/accommodations: I think it is absolutely essential that any community near proposed industrial wind turbines be provided detailed information on the specific location of the proposed turbines. Ideally, that information would include images that simulate what views will be if and when the proposed turbines were to be erected.

Shared economic benefit: The current Higgins Mountain wind farm would bring little or no economic benefit to the communities in its vicinity, or to Cumberland County. I think this reality could be made clearer to the council members. Northern Pulp would enjoy the biggest share of annual revenue.

Decommissioning: Mr. Bezanson’s recommendation for a 125% bond/surety applicable to the future repair and removal of the industrial wind turbines is excellent. Should there be a specific timeline for when that work would be carried out?

Appropriate Cumberland County wind energy zones: I would like to see Cumberland County (and other NS counties) telling the industrial wind turbine proponents where they have to locate (because of ecological, tourism, health and safety and economic concerns) rather than the wind turbine companies coming up with their proposals (and ignoring or downplaying the residents’ concerns).

Adding Wentworth to Restricted Overlay: With reference to Cumberland Policy 4-53 and Policy 4-54, I believe that the Wentworth Valley meets the criteria laid out for its protection. It is not an area where industrial wind turbines should be erected.

The first reason is because it is an area frequented by Nova Scotia’s endangered mainland moose as they move between the Wentworth Valley and Portapique Protected Wilderness Areas. Second, the Wentworth Valley is an area that is of vital healthful importance and cultural significance for its year-round and seasonal residents. The negative health impacts of wind turbines are well documented and should be articulated more clearly in the county’s policy documents. Third, industrial wind turbines will have severe negative impacts on tourism plans for the area. It is said that about 100,000 visitors annually come to enjoy the Valley from across the Maritimes.

I believe that Cumberland County should coordinate its policy on industrial wind turbines with neighbouring Colchester County. I hope that the two counties will agree that there should be a 10 km-wide restricted overlay corridor that runs from the top of Folly Mountain in Colchester on through the Wentworth Valley in Cumberland. That area along Highway 4 is a wonderful landscape and view-plane that has been enjoyed by Canadians and foreign tourists for well over a century—ever since the advent of train and automobile traffic. It’s a landscape comparable to the scenery of the Cabot Trail. Industrial wind turbines would mar it irrevocably.

Thank you for seeking comments.

Andrew Johnston

Halifax, NS

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