Survey indicates ‘No!” to wind farm

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A survey of almost 600 Smoky River region residents has indicated strong opposition to a proposed industrialized-size wind farm by ABO Wind Canada north of Falher.

Manon Turcotte presented her findings to the M.D of Smoky River council Feb. 12, who received the survey for information.

At a meeting in Guy June 28, 2023, it was suggested the M.D. do its own survey. At the time, Reeve Robert Brochu said council was open to the idea, but it never materialized.

However, Brochu said last week (June 2) that now since a new CAO has been hired, council may reopen the suggestion.

It was Brochu’s remark about the survey at Guy that prompted Turcotte to take action She was at the meeting. When nothing happened by November, she took it upon herself to lead the survey.

“I thought it was important for peoples’ voices to be heard,” says Turcotte.

“I called a few people and together we worked on creating simple survey that we could send by mail, do door-to-door, or simply wherever we had access to Wifi.”

The proposed project calls for up to 27 turbines at a height of just under 700 feet each. The project also demands access roads, a transmission line and more.

In addition to the meeting in Guy, another meeting was held at Falher one week earlier on June 21, 2023. ABO Wind held its own meeting at Jean Cote Nov. 1, 2023 to answer questions and promote the project, which would potentially generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the M.D.

Turcotte says it is important to know where residents stand on the issue, hence the survey. Strict rules were put in place and enforced so results would not be skewered.

Sampling began in late November 2023. Turcotte admits her group was a bit “deflated” due to lack of responses so they took a break and began a final push in February 2024.

“I personally had the survey available everywhere I went: grocery store, curling rink, hockey games, etc.,” says Turcotte.

“I asked as many people as I could.”

She estimates over 1,000 emails and/or texts were sent out.

Turcotte is pleased with the 579 responses received although she was hoping of even more – up to 80 per cent of the Smoky River region communities responding to the survey.

“I really thought more people would engage and would want their voices heard, especially since this is such a big project which will have a very big impact on our area,” she says.

She is disappointed the M.D. did not support the survey.

“Isn’t it in all our interest to know what people want and where they stand?” she asks.

“I believe the M.D. has a duty to stand with its people.”

Turcotte still believes the M.D. should conduct a plebiscite on the matter with a simple question: Do you support ABO’s proposal to build a wind farm north of the Falher? Yes or no!

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