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Southern Albertans voice opposition to proposed wind power project

Click to play video: 'Southern Albertans voice strong opposition to proposed wind power project' Southern Albertans voice strong opposition to proposed wind power project
More than 400 people signed a letter of opposition that was presented at a May 25 council meeting in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek. The letter details issues residents have with a proposed wind power facility near Highway 507. Eloise Therien has the story. – Jun 7, 2021

On May 25, residents of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek submitted a letter of opposition to a proposed wind power facility at a council meeting, which they said could have a variety of negative impacts.

It garnered around 400 signatures.

“Only a few people didn’t sign the letter of objection because they wanted more information,” said Pat MacInnis, who has lived in the M.D. since 2006.

The Castle Meridian Wind Power Project by Clem Geo-Energy Corp. would be located near Highway 507 on 320 acres of privately owned land, a few kilometres west of the town of Pincher Creek.

According to the developer, the wind farm is designed to generate up to 22.4 megawatts of power through four turbines.

MacInnis told Global News many share her concerns over the potential impact of the project on those in the area, as evidenced by the number of signatures garnered by the letter.

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She said it would likely bring more unwanted noise and light, and impact land value and tourism.

“I have a company that (comes here), and they sit in my front room, and they say, ‘You have a million-dollar view,'” she said. “Well, I won’t have that anymore, will I?

“There are so many other places that windmills can go. They don’t have to go right there.”

Justin Toews, another resident in close proximity to the proposed site, said his family bought their property with the view in mind and wasn’t aware more development was able to happen in that area.

“These windmills will stand between us and our view of (Castle, Victoria and Corner) Mountain,” he said in an email to Global News.

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“We gave serious consideration to the fact that we were buying next to the little windmills to the north, understanding that they are nearing end of life. Realtors have said that close proximity to windmills is detrimental to the sale of a home.”

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Clem Geo provided Global News with a statement that explained its communication with the community.

“Clem Geo has been working with private landowners and the M.D. of Pincher Creek No. 9 for several years on the project, conducting feasibility studies and environmental assessments,” the statement read.

“Clem Geo will continue to engage stakeholders in the project zones and surrounding area in accordance with the (Alberta Utilities Commission) rules and regulations.”

Read more: Southern Alberta witnessing ‘unprecedented’ surge in renewable energy projects

Roland Milligan, the director of development and community services with the M.D., said the project is currently at a standstill as they await communication from Clem Geo regarding land use.

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“The M.D. has not received any application at this point for either the required land use redesignation or any development permit applications,” he explained.

Despite the project still being in very early stages, MacInnis said concerned landowners and residents wanted to be “as proactive as possible.”

According to a recent project update from Clem Geo, the earliest the turbines could start would be in the second quarter of 2023.

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