Anne Murray wishes a proposed wind farm in the Pugwash area would fly away because the wings it would spread are anything but tiny. Canada’s Songbird has written Premier Darrell Dexter asking him to halt the proposed $85-million project, which would be about three kilometres from her summer home. “Pugwash is simply the wrong place for this,” Murray said in an interview Tuesday from her home in Jupiter, Fla.
Pugwash Wind Farm Inc. wants to install 11 or 12 turbines, which would generate up to 33 megawatts of electricity, on a site about two kilometres east of Pugwash. Construction could begin in 2013.
The singing legend, who spends three or four months a year in the area, said she fears the wind project would hurt tourism and the area’s popularity as a retirement area.
“If you put up a wind farm, you’ll take away the very thing that these people are escaping from,” Murray said.
“These things ….. are an eyesore, in my opinion. In an area like this, I think they would be a blight on the coastline and a terrible detriment to the economy.”
A top-notch celebrity golfer, Murray also expresses concern in the letter about the development’s possible impact on the Northumberland Links course.
A local group called the Gulf Shore Preservation Association, of which Murray is a member, has opposed the project.
The 66-year-old Nova Scotian said she shares the association’s concern about an environmental assessment on the project that the developer filed with the Environment Department earlier this month.
The group asked Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau to halt a public consultation because of concerns the developer hadn’t provided enough information on the proposed project.
The department said the assessment did comply with its guidelines and the review would continue.
The Premier’s Office referred inquiries Tuesday about Murray’s letter to the Environment Department.
A department spokeswoman said the letter will be included in the public feedback that Belliveau considers before deciding whether to grant the necessary permits for the project.
Developer Charles Demond couldn’t be reached Tuesday for comment on the singer’s remarks.
He has said the project, which has been in the works for more than seven years, has been revised based on community feedback.
“Many people agree with us that we now have a great project that everyone should be happy to see move ahead,” Demond said in a written statement last week.
The changes have included reducing the size of the project, which originally called for 27 turbines, and increasing setbacks.
The developer says wind turbines will now be at least 1.2 kilometres from shore and two kilometres from the golf course. Most cottages will be more than 1,000 metres from the nearest tower and all of the structures are more than 600 metres from homes, the minimum setback required by municipal bylaw.
A spokesman for the residents group said members appreciate Murray’s support.
“She’s a stakeholder and has a longtime interest in the area,” said Dick Gray, the association’s treasurer.
The singer has been spending summers in the area since she was a child because her late parents also had a cottage in the area, Gray said.