PEI

'Off on the very wrong foot': Threat of legal action over wind turbines irks some residents

Some residents of Eastern Kings stood up to defend their municipal council at a public meeting Wednesday in which there was talk of legal action against the municipality as it weighs the merits of a wind turbine proposal.

'I hope we don't tear our community apart'

The province is considering putting up more wind turbines in Eastern Kings. (CBC)

Some residents of Eastern Kings stood up to defend their municipal council at a public meeting Wednesday where there was talk of legal action against the municipality as it weighs the merits of a wind turbine proposal.

"I certainly think we've got off on the very wrong foot to have a legal challenge at a public meeting," said local farmer Boyd Rose, speaking at the podium at Eastern Kings Community Centre, in front of about 60 people.

"I hope we don't tear our community apart."

Rose was among a handful of residents who stood up to voice support for council as it negotiates a divisive issue in the close-knit community: whether to allow more wind turbines to be built.

Earlier in the evening, a resident opposed to the turbines had stood at the podium to read a letter from a lawyer that accused council of failing to handle the issue properly, and warning of possible legal action against the municipality. A group of 14 residents in Eastern Kings have hired the lawyer to try to stop the turbines.

Some residents defended the actions of Eastern Kings council as it weights the merits of a wind turbine proposal. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"Any of the 14 members that's willing to write that letter and read that letter, I don't consider the type of individuals that have grown up and lived in Eastern Kings their whole life," said Rose.

A local fisherman echoed that sentiment.

"A lot of us here lived our whole lives here," said Walter Bruce.

"It's just irritating I guess to have these people come for a month or two and they have all the answers. They don't want this, they don't want that."

Summer resident Pamela Klein stood up to thank council for the work it has done, but warned that construction of the turbines and of access roads could damage fragile wetlands.

"Wind farm development has the potential to impact our groundwater quality," said Klein. "I urge council to reject any enlargement of wind turbine development ... for it is not in the best interest of our citizens."

Rosemary Curley told council construction of the turbines poses a risk to wildlife in the area.

"I think the studies will show it is a rich site for plants and animals," said Curley.

"Instead, I would like to see the energy corporation work with farmers to install turbines on farmland."

Lawyer for Eastern Kings Council attended meeting

Eastern Kings mayor Grace Cameron did not chair the meeting, though she did attend. She has declared a conflict of interest because a family member owns land in the proposed development area.

"There's a lot of outspoken people on both sides of the fence," said deputy mayor Danelle Elliott, who chaired the meeting.

Danelle Elliott is a council member and deputy mayor for the Rural Municipality of Eastern Kings. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"Obviously, it affects the public. It affects the place where we live and the public should always have an opinion and a chance to comment on bigger developments like this,"

Council is trying to follow the process set out in the community's bylaws, and the public meeting was part of that process, said Elliott.

Eastern Kings council had its own lawyer sit in on the meeting. Council did not make any decisions on the wind turbines.

The proposal from P.E.I. Energy Corporation would include construction of seven new turbines, in addition to the 10 turbines that currently comprise Eastern Kings Wind Farm.

An environmental impact assessment is now underway. Another public meeting will be held when the assessment is complete.

More P.E.I. news

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Mayor Grace Cameron did not attend the meeting. In fact she did attend.
    Aug 02, 2019 3:14 PM AT

About the Author

Brian Higgins

Videojournalist

Brian Higgins shoots video and reports news on Prince Edward Island.

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