A right­ful place at the ta­ble

East­ern Kings re­ceives ul­ti­ma­tum on con­struc­tion of new wind farm

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY ALAN MACPHEE Alan E. MacPhee is a Souris busi­ness­man and chair­man of Is­land­wide Hospi­tal Ac­cess

Most re­cently, The P.E.I. En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (PEIEC) gave East­ern Kings a take-it-or­leave-it propo­si­tion on a new wind farm.

Imag­ine how long a pro­posal would last if a Crown cor­po­ra­tion put a gun to Char­lot­te­town with a pro­posal with no room for dis­cus­sion.

PEIEC is good at its sin­gu­lar man­date to get the big­gest tur­bine in the windi­est lo­ca­tion.

How­ever, there are good rea­sons for and against wind farms as there is good and bad com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

The cur­rent pro­posal ig­nores stud­ies show­ing wind tur­bine lo­ca­tions dam­age over­all land val­ues and do not at­tract pop­u­la­tion, both of which are con­trary to com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

PEIEC gives no place for com­mu­nity in­put in plan­ning to mit­i­gate these fac­tors, i.e. lo­ca­tion or size of tur­bines.

I think it is be­cause PEIEC con­sid­ers lo­cals in­ca­pable to grasp man­age­ment of their own com­mu­nity af­fairs and PEIEC is afraid the com­mu­nity might rec­om­mend smaller tur­bines in re­mote ar­eas with some lo­cal com­mu­nity own­er­ship or tax­a­tion base.

The PEIEC web­site doesn’t show who its ex­ec­u­tive or direc­tors are — we don’t know who is mak­ing the de­ci­sions, but we are quite cer­tain there is no rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties most af­fected by it’s op­er­a­tions.

We need to find a bet­ter way to con­duct busi­ness on P.E.I. be­yond the mys­te­ri­ous im­pe­rial colo­nial fam­ily com­pact which con­tin­ues to pounce on ru­ral P.E.I.

Right now it’s wind­mills at all costs and to heck with the com­mu­nity con­cerns of lo­cal and sum­mer res­i­dents and prop­erty own­ers.

In 2016 PEIEC made $9 mil­lion in profit, $5 mil­lion in de­pre­ci­a­tion and had $78 mil­lion in cash, pri­mar­ily on the backs of lo­cal ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Imag­ine what lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties could achieve if they had a seat at the plan­ning ta­ble and were fairly com­pen­sated — even some­thing as ba­sic as high-speed In­ter­net could be im­ple­mented.

The first round of wind­mills gave the East­ern Kings Com­mu­nity Coun­cil $25,000 a year — a pit­tance and a joke. Lo­cal land lessors must sign a nondis­clo­sure agree­ment on fees while other landown­ers value de­crease.

PEIEC touts the $12,500 it di­rects to the lo­cal com­mu­nity (di­rected by Char­lot­te­town, not a lo­cal board). Though wind farms tout creation of jobs, the lo­cal econ­omy and con­struc­tion in­dus­try, busy with lo­cal and sum­mer homes is real, is vi­brant and em­ploys real lo­cal peo­ple and it will be hurt by wind farms.

An anal­y­sis de­ter­min­ing com­mu­nity com­pen­sa­tion and de­vel­op­ment funds should be in the mil­lions as off­set by a loss in land val­ues, loss in tax­a­tion base, loss of pop­u­la­tion growth and the im­pact on con­struc­tion, and sum­mer busi­ness de­vel­op­ment such as restau­rants and ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The PEIEC of­fer to East­ern Kings should be re­fused for bad man­ners and bad form.

No wind farms should be de­vel­oped in East­ern P.E.I. un­til lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties have a right­ful place at the plan­ning and com­pen­sa­tion ta­ble be­cause two things are for cer­tain — ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties pay the so­cio-eco­nomic price of wind farms and se­condly, the wind will al­ways be blow­ing in East­ern P.E.I., so un­less it’s the low­brow pres­sure tac­tic of a bully, why the rush?

FILE PHOTO

The Her­manville-Clear Springs wind de­vel­op­ment project is the sec­ond wind farm in East­ern Kings County, in ad­di­tion to the East Point project.

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