Wentworth Valley residents gather to express concerns about wind turbine development
Group wants to make sure when wind turbine development happens in N.S. 'it happens in the right areas'
About 50 residents of the Wentworth Valley gathered at a local recreation centre on Saturday to express concerns to Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables Tory Rushton about proposed wind turbines for the area.
Rushton is also the area's MLA.
Six months ago, Nova Scotia announced five wind projects to be completed by 2025. They are expected to generate 372 megawatts per year of electricity, which is approximately 12 per cent of the province's total energy consumption.
One of them is for Higgins Mountain, which is in the Wentworth area.
"We have some of the oldest forests in Nova Scotia," said Catherine Johnston of the Protect Wentworth Valley committee. "We have amazing outdoor trails, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking. Wind turbines are going to destroy our area in terms of that outdoor economic development.
"As a result, we want to make sure that wind turbine development in Nova Scotia, when it happens, it happens in the right areas."
She said the group agrees that efforts should be made to protect the climate, but it doesn't believe wind turbines are the right source of energy. The group believes wind turbines will impact biodiversity in the area.
Meghan Todd moved to the area a year ago. She said it's important to consider how the wind turbines will impact the growth of the community.
"If we create something that is unattractive within a community like Wentworth, who have recently invested a lot of infrastructure into the community, we're going to deter more people from moving here more full time," said Todd, adding that this conversation has lasted nearly a decade.
Rushton committed to sharing community letters to be taken into consideration before the project moves to its next step, which is an environmental assessment.
He said he has received letters of support and disapproval for wind turbines from the community over the last year, but now he hears an urgency from the community.
He said the province would work closely with the committee if the project moves past an environmental assessment.
Rushton said the timeline of the project remains unclear.