Wind farm plans changed to protect birds
Following a study of the movement of birds at a proposed wind farm site, the City of Summerside has reduced the number of turbines planned and changed their shoreline location.
The project revisions should prevent any major problem for birds in the area, suggests a 169-page environmental impact assessment commissioned by the city.
Two of the four turbines would go on the shoreline of Malpeque Bay, just east of Slemon Park. The site is recognized under an international conservation treaty signed in 1971, known as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
City official Greg Gaudet told CBC News Monday a bird survey was conducted on the site during the migratory season for the birds.
"In the spring and the fall when most of the birds are travelling in the migratory paths, we went three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday," said Gaudet.
"[We] went to each survey site, spent a half hour at each one, or 15 minutes at each one and logged all the bird sightings at each location."
Following the survey, the city reduced the number of turbines planned for the site from three to two, and moved those turbines further inland. In total, there are now four turbines planned for the project.
The assessment also suggests construction should be avoided during sensitive nesting times and noise kept to a minimum.
"Our opinion on the data collected was that we think our wind farm would have an insignificant impact on the birds as they are presented today and what we studied over the last year and a half," said Gaudet.
Gaudet said the provincial government will now take a look at all the information gathered so far, and make a decision about what happens next. If the city gets approval for the project it could start construction this summer.