It seems that life is never simple. Capital Power has been quietly working for the past two or three years on it’s Phase Two Halkirk wind farm project in the County of Paintearth.
It will be located in the general area south of the Battle River and north of Paintearth Creek and is north of the present wind farm located east of Halkirk.
The project is proposed to have about 75 towers that are much higher than the towers in Phase One when completed.
By Federal regulation both the Battle River and the Paintearth Creek are considered as navigable waters. There is concern by some in the area that the ground disturbance from the construction and operation of the towers will affect water flow both above and below ground.
At present they have no way of knowing if this project will affect water flow in the river and creek or affect wells and dugouts. The larger towers pose a larger risk of ground disturbance.
It never ceases to amaze me that the environmentalists have one set rules for projects that they approve and a different set of standards for projects that they oppose.
When it comes to pipelines, they can come up with no end of concerns about the problems that could happen with the pipeline, for example, they will say if there was to be a leak it would cause catastrophic ecological consequences.
They insist on environmental assessments with unreasonable parameters and then if it doesn’t go their way they will still come up with other legal ways to block the development.
However, if it is a renewable energy project such as a wind farm, a detailed environmental assessment seems to have criteria that is less stringent for approval. It seems a few dead ducks in a tailing pond is much worse than thousands of birds killed from wind generators.
A detailed environmental assessment of a proposed wind farm should consider the effect on bird and animal life, ground disturbance, white noise or strobe on people living near the towers and who will be responsible for the decommissioning of these things when they have reached the end of their use full life.
While there was an assessment of this project, I am not aware if those issues were addressed for this wind farm the same as an assessment on a pipeline, or for that matter, any wind farm.
A major issue that has arisen with this project is the separation distance between residences and the towers when in operation due to the strobe effect of the generators on people.
There is a report that at least one family from the Phase One wind farm has had to move due to the strobe effect on their health.
It seems to me that Capital Power who are initiating the project for a return on investment, and the County whose motivation to encourage this development is an increased tax base, should put the safety and health of ratepayers and clients as a priority ahead of money.
There is a petition being circulated in the County of Paintearth requesting that there be a separation of 1.5 kilometres from a tower and residence of those who are NOT supporting the project.
It appears that this is causing some controversy, as the ratepayers who have agreed to a tower being constructed on their property are not in support of the petition for fear of the project being down-sized or cancelled.
They are also down playing the health issue.
I also think that the higher towers could pose a higher health risk. Safety and health should be the priority issue.
Let’s not make the same mistakes that were made in Ontario where numerous people had severe health problems due to insufficient separation of wind generators from residences.
I have in my position a detailed report of the health problems that occurred in Ontario due to insufficient separation of wind generators and residences.
I would encourage rural ratepayers in this county to sign the petition and support those that will be adversely affected by towers being constructed too close to a residence. Call me for petition information 403-578-3364.
by Herman Schwenk