Three attend land use bylaw public hearing

Paintearth county council

County members continued to gather feedback from county residents prior to final reading of the impending land use bylaw changes by holding another public hearing Tues., June 7.

Despite only three people in attendance, Reeve Glazier requested a public reading of the most recent letters received by the county in the wake of the April public hearing.  The letters express the opinions of the landowners affected by the impending wind turbine installations.

Here are excerpts from two of the letters, representing both sides of the issue.

Ellyn Schaffner told the county in her letter, “We live situated in the middle of several windmills but we have not experienced any of the so-called negative effects that others claim they have.

“Prior to this windmill project, we were very skeptical of the turbines and chose not to listen to any negatives or positives but to research everything for ourselves.

“I drove through southern Saskatchewan and asked people questions. I read environmental reports as well as looked closely at the situation in Ontario where politicians and businesses chose to be rather unclear about their intentions with landowners.

“Presently, we are persistent with observing the animals that surround our area and I have even seen a large bird navigate the blades.

“We continue to have a variety of songbirds in the yard as well as geese and ducks all about. We keep in close communication with our renter who has not noted any difference in the cattle. Deer are abundant, as well as moose.

“Throughout the warmer season, during evenings in the yard, we also still have bats. On a very rare occasion, we hear a sound similar to that of highway traffic, but as stated, it is rare and is not a bother to us.”

Geraldine Coulthard said in her letter to council, “The original proposed setbacks from residences and roads was 1000 meters, but understand it has been changed to 500 metres which is much too close for health reasons as studies world wide have proved.

“Given the high density of farms in the Paintearth area, we also don’t agree that a few councillors who are not affected by the turbines have made the decision to limit the setback to 500 metres.

“What was the purpose of the public hearing if councillors were not going to take heed to taxpayers concerns?

“We feel it will devalue our property and will deteriorate our roads which happened when the 83 towers Capital Power now operator were installed in the Halkirk area.

“Also when this wind farm was proposed we were told they would hire local people and businesses to benefit our community but most were from out of province and a construction company from out of country.

“Lets ask ourselves who in the community really benefits from the wind turbines?”

Development Officer Todd Pawsey read through the bylaw amendments and the meeting concluded with Dwayne Felzien of the Castor/Galahad area urging council to consider the opinions of the 15 or so landowners who represent 100 quarters of land in the area being considered for the land use bylaw changes.

A follow up to the hearing will be discussed at the next meeting on June 21.

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