Wind Turbine Development By-Law Review

Upcoming Council meetings for the Wind Turbine Development By-law review process:

           Thursday, January 26th 2023 – Council meeting, 6pm  (In-person/Virtual combined).  First Reading

           UPDATED Second Reading - Date to be determined at January 26th Council Meeting 

           Contact Pam Macintosh for more information:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 902-897-3170

 

Introduction

Colchester has regulated large wind turbine projects since 2009. This was brought about by a growing interest in wind energy coupled with a recognition that such developments could be disruptive to residents in the absence of any standards. Council chose to regulate wind turbines through a county-wide bylaw rather than through a municipal planning strategy and land use by-law, understanding it could only manage how these are established and not where.  In other words, it presumes turbines can be established in Colchester and sets out standards relating to administration, setbacks, conditions of operation, public consultation, decommissioning and enforcement. To view the full by-law click here and to view the Sound Monitoring Compliance Policy click here

 

Review Process, Issues and Input:

In February 2022, a motion was approved by Council to suspend any future applications for large-scale wind turbine developments for a period of up to one year. Council identified four key issue areas: 

  • Setback distances from existing residential uses
  • Turbine height limitations
  • Adequacy of decommissioning requirements
  • Noise generation 

The public consultation sessions have now concluded and thanks to everyone who participated. Staff have created a final report and recommendation along with a supplementary report which were presented to the Planning Advisory Committee and can be viewed below. 

default Final Report Wind Turbine Review 2023 (3.22 MB)

default Supplementary Wind Bylaw Report 2023 (1.30 MB)

Illustration of wind turbine in front of a sunset

Public Presentations 

As part of this review process, the general public, stakeholders, and developers from the wind energy development sector were invited to make presentations to the PAC members.  Over the course of two evenings on October 19th and the 25th, eleven presentations were made. See the links below for notes from these meetings.

pdf October 19 2022 PAC Presentations Summary (316 KB)  

pdf October 25 2022 PAC Presentations Summary (334 KB)

 

Public Open House

Two Open Houses were held on Tuesday November 22nd and Wednesday, November 30th. Thanks to those who attended. 

 

 Asset 12

Wind Turbine Survey 

The Wind Turbine Survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on the future of wind development in Colchester County. Click the link below for a summary of the survey results!

pdf Wind Turbine Survey Results (27.34 MB)

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Energy In Colchester 

 

There are currently 8 large scale wind projects located in the Municipality. The following summarizes Colchester's current requirements in the Wind Turbine Development By-Law regarding the four Council identified key issue areas: 

  1. Setbacks: Colchester has a minimum separation distance of 1000m or 1 km. 
  2. Height Restirctions: Colchester does not have any height restrictions for large scale wind turbine developments.
  3. Decommissioning Plan: Colchester has a decommissioning plan requirement at the time of application for a license. While the Municipality does not require bonding or sureties, the by-law provides for financial penalties if the work is not completed within one year of turbine inactivity or revocation of a license.
  4. Sound: Colchester has a maximum allowable sound pressure level of 36 dB. A further requirement that a post-construction field study must be completed within one year of operation of the project to confirm that threshold is not exceeded. 
     

In April 2022, Colchester staff examined wind turbine requirements of twenty-two municipal units across Nova Scotia and compared them to Colchester's. The following document summarizes these findings. 

pdf Wind Turbine ByLaw Comparisons NS (97 KB)

 

  

 Map of Wind Projects across Colchester County

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The former Salmon River Elementary School property was acquired by the County after the school closed in 2008 and a request for proposals was conducted in 2009 with none received. The school was demolished in 2017 and the site has been vacant for several years with some local recreational use. In 2021, the Municipality began to do some light maintenance of the property. In Fall of 2021 municipal staff began an engagement process to gather residents' thoughts on the future of this property. As a next step, staff will complete a more detailed analysis and recommendation for Council based on the information and input gathered to date.

On October 13, 2022, staff presented its Report and Recommendation to Council Committee regarding the future use of the former Salmon River Elementary School property. District 5 Councillor, Tim Johnson also provided a report on his extensive conversations with residents (see documents). 

Following discussion at their October 13th meeting, Council Committee recommended the future use of the site be 40% housing and 60% park/greenspace and that staff be directed to proceed with a request for proposals for development. This recommendation was considered by Council at their meeting on October 27, 2022, and a motion was carried. Council directed staff to designate 40% of the lands at the former Salmon River School property for housing development and 60% for park/greenspace; and staff was also directed to proceed with a Request for Proposals for the property. 

 

pdf Former Salmon River School Property – Future Use Final Report & Recommendation 2022 (781 KB)

 

Supporting Documents 

Virtual Public Engagement Responses 

In-Person Public Engagement Responses 

Design Concepts 

Survey Results 

pdf Salmon River School Property Survey (Councillor Johnson) (427 KB)

Former Salmon RIver Elementary School Property 

 

The former Salmon River Elementary School property was acquired by the County after the school closed in 2008 and request for proposals was conducted in 2009 with none received.  The property was leased to RCMP for training in 2012 and retained for potential future use by the Municipality. The school was demolished in 2017 and has been vacant for several years with some local recreational use. In 2021, the Municipality began to do some light maintenance of the property. 

 

The Municipality has been undergoing an engagment process to dertermine the future land use of this property. 

Screen Shot 2022 06 17 at 2.58.04 PM

 

 

The results are in from the Salmon River Elementary School Property Survey. Please click on the documents below to view the results:

pdf Salmon River Elementary School Property Survey Results (7.52 MB)  (edited January 4, 2022)

pdf Salmon River Elementary School Property Survey Summary (13.00 MB)  (edited January 4, 2022)