‘I don’t feel like being the test subject.’— Local resident Tony MacDonald’
The Prince Edward Island community of Eastern Kings is taking a stance against wind development projects, but no one representing the community is willing to talk about the details.
The local council held a vote Tuesday night in response to a proposal made by PEI Green Energy Inc., which wants to install 28 turbines near East Point.
There were about 100 people at the meeting, from the community which has a population of a little under 1,000.
“The question was do we want further wind development in the area. Sixty-one people said no and 45 said yes,” local resident Tony MacDonald said.
A wind farm with 10 turbines is already operating about 500 metres from MacDonald’s home in Elmira and he said he would not want to see one any closer than that.
“I’m not against windmills. I’m not against landowners getting a little bit of additional revenue out of their land,” he said. “What I’m against is when they’re doing it in someone else’s backyard at the expense of the people living there.”
There are more than a dozen landowners who stand to benefit from turbines installed in their fields. Council is siding with the majority and will not be supporting this or any other wind project, said community chair Sheila Eastman.
The issue is a contentious one in the community. The voting was done by secret ballot, and no members of council were willing to talk to CBC News. While MacDonald spoke Wednesday, on a return visit Thursday no one was willing to talk. Residents told reporters it is not in their best interest to speak to the media.
Some residents are concerned about the effect the turbines will have on property values. MacDonald said for him it all comes down to what he sees as a lack of research. He believes more information is needed to determine a safe distance between turbines and residential homes.
“I don’t feel like being the test subject … or my kids being the test subject, and [in 20 years] to look at it and say, ‘Oh yeah, maybe it wasn’t quite far enough,'” he said.
PEI Green Energy plans to submit its proposal to Maritime Electric Friday. It also wants to install 24 turbines in western P.E.I.
Maritime Electric said the amount of community support for a project is a factor that must be considered before awarding any tenders.