[PUGWASH, NS] — The head of a proposed wind farm near Pugwash said the project is a good one that has addressed community concerns.
Responding to the Gulf Shore Preservation Association’s letter to Environment Minister Stirling Belliveau regarding the project’s environmental assessment, Atlantic Wind Power Corporation president Charles Demond said he has complete confidence in the document submitted to the province earlier this month.
“Obtaining environmental approval is an important process and one that we approach thoroughly and diligently,” Demond said. “We’ve hired the right people to help us through this and they’ve done an excellent job.
“I am very pleased with the 279-page assessment document and I respectfully believe it is complete and provides enough information and details for the honourable minister to make in his decision.”
Demond said the size of the wind farm has been reduced from 27 turbines to 11 or 12 and setbacks are well beyond the minimums required. He said the closest any turbine will be from the shoreline will be 1.2 kilometres with most cottage owners being more than 1,000 metres from the nearest turbine. It will be two kilometres to the golf course.
“By every measure we have thoroughly considered all the comments of area residents, both positive and negative. We have been working more than seven years on this project,” Demond said. “Through that time we have had multiple open house, focus group sessions, meetings with individual groups and public meetings at county council, all of which have assisted us to fundamentally change the project. Many people agree that we now have a good project with which to move forward.”
The association asked the minister to suspend the environmental assessment until its proponent completes several studies.
“It is surprising that this document has been deemed complete and acceptable by your ministry, but we expect upon further review of these items you will see fit to suspend the comment period on the Pugwash Wind Farm Environmental Assessment until the proponent has completed the work necessary,” group spokesman Richard Gray said in a letter to Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau.
Gray said Pugwash Wind Farm Inc. wants to install five turbines in areas it describes as ‘wet forest or wetlands,’ which the association said is a clear contravention of the province’s Provincial Wetlands Conservation Policy.
“We took a close look at the environmental assessment submitted by the proponents and we were stunned and shocked at its deficiencies,” Gray said. “We made the request because the document was so deficient in significant areas that we felt we couldn’t comment usefully on it and couldn’t see how others could either.”
He said he’s disappointed with news the minister’s office will not intervene.