By Chris Lewis | Vol. 32 No. 49 (Feb. 20, 2020)
The Town of Conception Bay South has ordered a property owner in Seal Cove to remove a windmill from his land.
That is because the windmill was built without the approval of the town, said the head of the town’s planning and development committee, councillor Rex Hillier. Hillier’s committee also recommended that council reject a new application from the owner to construct a 25-foot pole.
“The proposed pole is intended to support a windmill structure, and windmill structures are not listed as accessory uses associated with residential uses of the Conception Bay South development regulations,” said Hillier.
Deputy Mayor Richard Murphy, however, noted that with the amount of confusion surrounding the province’s future electricity rates, the construction of windmills may be something the town would want to look into as more people look for alternative sources of power.
“If people want to take it upon themselves to erect windmills to generate electricity, we basically can’t permit it under the existing regulations here in the town,” Murphy said. “I’m just wondering if there is a plan to look into these particular structures. I can’t see them being placed in subdivisions, but there are places that are not as congested.”
Murphy called the windmills a possible cost-saving device for residents.
Hillier said that, in the case of this particular recommendation, the windmill was built without the town’s permission and, as such, there was no chance for things such as a safety inspection.
“Our concern with this one is that you’ve got a 25-foot pole with a motor and veins and so on, all connected to an electrical system that nobody has inspected. So, we’re asking that this one be removed,” he said.
As for the future of windmills, Hillier note that staff members are in the process of compiling information defining the requirements for building windmills and adding them to the town’s development regulations.
Those additions, Hillier said, will hopefully be ready for implementation sometime in the coming spring or early in the summer.
Mayor Terry French said that when it comes to windmills, he suspects there are specific provincial regulations that need to be adhered to before such a structure can be erected.
“It would probably require some kind of environmental process, because of how it would affect different kinds of wildlife – small game, and so on. I think there is a certain process you have to go through to get those kinds of things approved,” French said, noting that although he was unsure of the specifics, that process would more than likely involve the Environmental Assessment Act.