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  • Darrell Cole, Saltwire

Colchester County extends wind turbine moratorium to February 2023

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

TRURO – Colchester County is going to take another six months to look at its bylaws regarding wind turbine development in the municipality.

Mayor Christine Blair said council voted Thursday, June 16, to extend its existing moratorium through to February 2023.

“We’re in the process of working on this right now. Like Cumberland County, we were in the process of looking at our bylaw during the six-month moratorium. We put a motion on the floor at our meeting last Thursday for an extension of six months,” Blair said. “That’s going to allow us to complete the consultation process. We can’t presuppose what the outcome of this is going to be.”

Colchester County’s decision came on the same week Cumberland County made changes to its land-use bylaws regarding wind turbines. This followed its own six-month moratorium on the development of wind turbines.

The county’s new bylaws place a 3.2-kilometre exclusion zone through the Wentworth Valley on both sides of Highway 4. It also sets out rules for decommissioning turbines at the end of their life cycle, requiring companies to put up a surety representing 125 per cent of their value.

The bylaw also has minimum public engagement requirements and puts new setbacks in place of one kilometre from dwellings.

At issue is a plan by developers to place a 100-megawatt wind farm on Higgins Mountain, right along the border with Colchester County. Another 100-megawatt wind farm is being proposed in Colchester, which could see more than 20 turbines in an area north of Debert and running behind Hart Lake and Folly Lake.

The mayor said there have been no applications to develop wind farms in the area and it won’t be considering any until after February 2023.

“There are four separate groups talking about putting wind turbines in that whole area in Cumberland and Colchester, coming down as far as Londonderry, but we are not taking any applications at this time,” she said.

Blair said council knows the importance of the issue and is aware of concerns being raised by residents. She said the key is to follow the best practices when it comes to developing a bylaw.

Colchester’s bylaws, unlike Cumberland’s, are not part of the land-use bylaw, but are a separate wind turbine development bylaw. Colchester’s land-use bylaw and municipal planning strategy is restricted to the central part of Colchester around Truro.

“We need to do peer assessments, look at what other municipalities are doing, and we need public consultations,” Blair said. “We want to take our time and have a thorough assessment. We want to talk about noise and setbacks, decommissioning, height of the turbines, and the impact on the residents.”

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