GUYSBOROUGH — Despite a thunderstorm, and the faint hope of watching the Edmonton Oilers beat the odds and win the Stanley Cup on TV, Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) residents left the comfort of their homes recently to hear how Port Hawkesbury Paper plans to build its Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm, scheduled to go online in 2026.

“There were quite a few people and I was surprised because the weather was terrible and, of course, the hockey game was on,” Mary Desmond, MODG District 2 Councillor and member of the Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) wind community liaison committee told The Journal last week about the open house she helped host at the Tracadie and District Volunteer Fire Department hall on June 24.

Geoff Clarke, PHP’s director of sustainability and economic development, confirmed that turnout at the open house at the Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Department the following night (June 25) was also good. “Both [events] were very well attended. I think we had something like 27 people [altogether]. And people were asking great questions.”

Clarke noted that the project to build up to 31 wind turbines primarily on Crown lands in the MODG – seven kilometres northeast of Lincolnville and 7.4 kilometres southeast of Mattie Settlement – undertook its series of mandatory open houses in 2022, prior to receiving the go ahead from the Department of Environment and Climate Change in 2023.

“We decided to hold a couple more open houses voluntarily to focus on [how] we’re planning to bring in the turbine components and the planned route… to minimize any concerns about traffic or anything like that.”

A team of PHP Wind experts were on hand to field questions about that, he said, and other key features of the project. 

“Some people who came in with concerns about the environment had had a lot of questions about the wildlife – the birds and the bats and the moose, and so forth. People also wanted to know about the size and density of the windfarms… Overall, public reaction was neutral to positive.”

Desmond said the degree of public interest was encouraging. 

“I told one couple there that it is important to keep the lines of communication open on something like this. It’s important to keep the community informed [to show] that we’re not hiding anything and that, if there are questions, they can get answers.”

When completed, the Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm is expected to supply more than 60 per cent of PHP’s annual energy load. The province has committed to having 80 per cent of its electricity grid greened by 2030.

By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2024 at 08:16

This item reprinted with permission from   Guysborough Journal   Guysborough, Nova Scotia
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