By: Naomi Larsen, Chetwynd Echo
LONE PRAIRIE – A proposal for five wind turbines along the ridge of Sandy Hill in Lone Prairie is meeting some opposition.
A not-so-public meeting regarding the proposed 15-megawatt wind farm was held by Aeolis Wind Energy last Thursday (April 19) at the Chetwynd Secondary School library.
Neil Davies, a Lone Prairie resident who was at the meeting, said he was on one of about 25 people who attended, and says it’s not a matter of “not in my backyard” – it’s a matter of not in his front yard.
“The problem we’re having with this proposed development is that it will be in our front yard, right in our faces,” he said. “Everyday we will have to look at those rotors turn while the owners, who all live somewhere else are getting rich. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair to this country boy.”
He also mentions concerns surrounding a decline in property values and simple vision pollution.
About six years ago, Finavera Wind attempted to construct a wind park in Lone Prairie along Wartenbe Ridge and came up against strong opposition – mostly due to lack of consultation with landowners. Eventually, they pulled out of the proposal and the project was scrapped.
On Monday (April 23), Aeolis Wind president Juergen Puetter said the project is still in the “very, very early stages – far from anything going up anywhere.”
The meeting, Puetter said, was simply an informal get-together to get feedback from Lone Prairie residents and they did put a poster on a bulletin board in town.
“Anyone could come,” Puetter said. “It wasn’t a closed meeting.”
Puetter said now that they have collected some feedback, they will take those comments and “do some thinking and see if it’s something we want to pursue or not. We haven’t made any decisions yet … this is a very preliminary sort of fact finding mission.”
When asked why the media wasn’t notified about the meeting, Puetter said they “didn’t want to make a big public thing about it.”
He added should they decide to take the project further, public meetings would be on the agenda.
Puetter said his company was one of the developers on the Bear Mountain Wind Project and at the time during their Environment Assessment process, several Lone Prairie residents made their views known then.
“And we got to know some of them, “ he said. “This was sort of internal due diligence to decide if we even want to do this project or not. It would premature to talk to media about it. No point making a lot of noise about something if it isn’t going to go anywhere…and I didn’t think anyone from Chetwynd would want to come at this stage because it’s way too early.”
Should the project go ahead, the nearest property would be two kilometres away “as the crow flies”.