Nova Scotia

No new wind developments in Inverness County for 6 months

Council voted in favour of a six-month hold on all new wind developments in Inverness County so that it can review bylaws that have not been updated in a decade.

The municipality says it needs time to review bylaws from 2012

A photo of a wind turbine in Ellershouse, N.S., in the district of West Hants. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Inverness County council has put a six-month hold on any new wind developments in order to review wind turbine bylaws that haven't been updated since 2012. 

The decision comes after more than 200 people joined a community group against the proposed Rhodena Wind project, which would bring 15 turbines to the hills between Highway 19 and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Coun. John MacLennan, who represents District 4, was the only councillor to vote against the moratorium. He said he isn't sure why Inverness County is opposed to the wind development project along the west coast of Cape Breton Island.

"They're all over the world," said MacLennan, pointing out that there are similar developments across the province.

"That's the way the world is going on today. It's green power, no oil and that stuff."

Community opposition

The community group, Route 19 Community Association, doesn't want to see the project move forward. On its website, the group cites concerns about the size of the turbines, the proximity to residences, and stress caused by noise and light flickers.

Community Wind, the company behind the project, changed its original layout in response to community feedback and released a new plan this month that reduced the number of turbines to 15 from 18. 

The original Rhodena Wind project in Inverness County showed 18 turbines placed on Creignish Mountain. The company has since adjusted that number to 15. (ABO Wind)

Keith Towse, the company's CEO, said the pause on development was "entirely to be expected." 

"Technology and wind development has changed in the past 10 years and I think it's entirely appropriate to revisit that," Towse said.

He said the company is moving ahead with planning the project, which would be built mostly on Crown land and private land with permission of landowners. 

The proposed wind farm would be placed on Creignish Mountain. (Delpheen Drone Photography)

"We expect that our current layout would comply with any increased setbacks that the municipality may set," Towse said. "We look forward to working with the revised bylaws." 

The company has submitted a bid to the province and is waiting for it to be reviewed. It expects to hear back in the fall.