Colchester County places moratorium on wind turbine development

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Nadine Thomas.

TRURO - A moratorium has been placed on all non-approved wind turbine applications in Colchester County until council has dealt with the issue of distance setbacks.

The motion for the moratorium was made Thursday night during an emergency council meeting held following a staff decision this week to approve two applications for a total of five industrial turbines to be constructed in Hilden and Truro Heights.

"After the discussion (in closed session) the council agreed to put a moratorium on any applications for wind turbine development until the time the PAC (Planning Advisory Committee) reviews the current bylaw, makes a recommendation to the council and the council effects those changes in the new bylaw," municipal CAO Ramesh Ummat said.

"They said to stop any further processing until the revised bylaw is in place."

The emergency meeting was called to discuss the issue after concerns were raised that no members of council had been notified that staff was planning to give its stamp of approval to the two wind projects.

"It's an absolute, total lack of respect for our committee (council and the mayor)," Coun. Tom Taggart said, after learning of the staff decision.

The PAC decided to review the municipality's wind turbine bylaw after concerns regarding setback distances for industrial wind turbines were raised last summer by a citizens' group known as the Friends of Harmony Camden.

Taggart, who is also chairman of the PAC, expressed umbrage over the decision because he felt staff should have held off on issuing approval until the committee had brought its recommendation to council.

Nadine Thomas expressed concern during a presentation at last week's council meeting over PAC's delay in bringing a recommendation back to council, especially given that her group was told by council that a moratorium on further wind turbine development was not needed.

"We were assured that this would be going before the PAC and that this would be dealt with by October 2012," she said. "I guess that's the way the government works, the wheels turn really slowly and that's unfortunate, I think."

Thomas said her group fully supports "responsible" wind turbine development but it believes the existing 700-metre setback between an industrial turbine and the nearest residence is not sufficient.

"The county bylaw in place has no reflection on property devalument," she said. "All residents are at risk."

And while staff may have had the legal authority to approve the applications prior to the PAC recommendation, from a moral perspective, she agreed with Taggart that the decision should have been delayed until council had fully dealt with the setback issue.

"No I don't accept this is they way they (should) do things ... I mean, it's got to be teamwork, right?" she said. "I would be very embarrassed as a councillor if decisions were being made without you as a council knowing what's going on."

Although Ummat is not directly involved with the pending decision by the PAC, he expects a recommendation will be brought forward to council by this fall.


Organizations: PAC, Advisory Committee

Geographic location: Colchester County, Hilden, Truro Heights

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Recent comments

  • Right Direction
    July 08, 2013 - 22:13

    A step in the right direction. The morotoriums should stay in place until more health evidence is available. These are INDUSTRIAL wind turbines, and have no place so close to people's homes, just as we do not place coal mines, nuclear plants, or other industrial factories so close to homes. These turbines have a place, simply NOT in residential areas. We already know they decrease property values, and more and more information is coming in every day regarding health problems these will cause. Yes nofool - they likely could open themselves up to lawsuits...who will be on the hook for property devaluation? The turbine owner or council? Solution: Properly place these turbines in industrial areas or on Crown land far away from homes - win win for everyone

    • Carlene
      July 19, 2013 - 13:43

      @ right direction - how much health evidence do you need? EVIDENCE proves time and time again that there is no correlation between turbines and negative impacts to human health; unless you count unstoppable nagging, whining, lying, intimidating, exaggerating, turning a blind eye to science, over-dramatizing public appearances, being afraid of change and making suggestions for an industry you have never been part of to be negative impacts to human health problems. Seems as though the group of individuals against wind turbines in the Truro area all have one thing in common - the need to control other people and to do so at any cost. As a citizen of Colchester county, I commend council for putting a hold on applications. I hope they are intelligent enough to see that this is a big waste of money for a second look at the exact same 'issues' that were weighed in the last drafting of the original bylaw. I think the machines are beautiful, industrial only in terms of power productions, quiet and serene. I want to be proud to live in a county where council has allowed science, common sense and public need to prevail over the ridiculous claims being ignorantly forced upon us by a dozen or two of its citizens.

  • NoFool
    July 08, 2013 - 07:32

    Typical knee jerk reaction by a weak council. Deal with your out of control staff. The potential for law suits just escalated- which will cost the taxpayers. And these "homeowners" afraid of a devaluation in property values- how selfish!! Clean green energy is put on the back burner again all for the almighty dollar.

  • Smart Move
    July 07, 2013 - 16:39

    Good job putting this on hold. Now rescind the project approvals that were disrespectfully passed during the ongoing bylaw review and NEVER EVER allow any wind turbine bylaw to contain the "as of right" wording. Nothing with the potential impacts wind turbines have on citizens and property values should be as of right, or automatically approved.

  • Ray McLennan
    July 06, 2013 - 19:51

    This is typical of this council, they have spent plenty of time discussing and planning their wages increases. Yet when it comes to the importance of things such as sustainable energy, thats takes a back seat! The standard setback across Canada is 550 Meters, what is the hard choice with that. If council chooses to politicize and delay this with project up and coming then the Province will do like Ontario did and take away any say when it come to wind projects.

    July 06, 2013 - 12:04 do county councillors just want re-election votes by appearing to represent a "misguided by junk science minority" who is more vocal than the majority"?, or do we care about the quality of air our children breathe?....I am so ashamed of my fellow man and so ashamed and frustrated with myself and my inability to affect change.....our YOUTH really need to step in and yell and scream at the top of their contaminated lungs!!!!!!!!!! ....but will those in power hear their cry??...or understand why change is so imperative?....wind turbines will not cause harm at 700 meters setbacks and perhaps any house up to 1000 meters should be free to be requested to grant consent to the wind developer......blanketing a bylaw with excessive setbacks for the whole county is counterproductive to economic development for our whole community, and counter productive to adaption of clean energy technology, and counter productive to mankind's survival...some days if seems clear to me that we do not deserve to survive as a species, since we care not about the killing of other species of life...and therein lies the shame!... once again I read the news on Saturday and am left very disheartened....I pray for God to help the councillors in all counties and ours to make the right bylaws to support the much needed "clean technology phase of the industrial revolution"....otherwise as the future unfolds, nothing stated in manmade laws will matter at all.

  • Nancy Samson
    July 06, 2013 - 08:54

    Excellent and very important story affecting these communities. It is unfortunate that the levels of government do not seem to understand how much impact their decisions have on our lives. We need wind energy with responsible set-backs from property boundary lines and [policies in place to support the communities where the wind farms are constructed.