By Brenda Kossowan Red Deer Advocate
More names are being added to the list of people taking legal action to stop a wind farm from being built near their rural homes.
Earlier this year, farmers around Huxley and Trochu learned that FPLE Canadian Wind, an Ontario-based subsidiary of Nextera Energy Resources, is making plans for the Ghostpine Wind Farm in Kneehill County.
Located on the west side of Hwy 21, the system would require up to 54 wind turbines to generate 81 megawatts of power.
The issue has formed a rift between rural residents, including those who support the program and have signed deals to accept them on their property and those who are opposed to having the turbines erected near their homes, says Kneehill County Councillor Ken Hoppins.
As one of the farmers who has signed a deal with the wind farm, Hoppins excused himself from debate when the project went to the county’s municipal planning commission to seek a development permit.
Since then, the development permit has been issued and the county has amended its land-use bylaw to allow the project, Hoppins said.
But while some are in favour, a growing number are expressing concerns about the potential health effects of noise and vibration from the turbines.
Calgary lawyer Gavin Fitch notified the Alberta Utilities Commission this week that two more families have joined the three families who hired him earlier this year to take action preventing the company from erecting towers near their homes.
Their letters of objection have been placed on file with commission as part of the application process.
However, the company has not yet made a formal application, said Jim Law, an external affairs and communications officer for the commission.