We are the “Colindalers”, and are writing in support of Bill Dunphy’s recent op-ed pieces advocating that wind turbines be restricted to inland, sparsely inhabited places and that Municipal Council institute a new by-law establishing a one or two-mile buffer zone along the coast, to preserve the stunning beauty of the coastline for the benefit of Cape Bretoners, its visitors and its tourism-dependent economy.
We, the “Colindalers”, are a still-growing group of concerned residents and owners of more than 600 acres of land in Colindale. We have recently stated our collective opposition to having 16-storey wind turbines erected in our neighbourhood. Some of us are year round residents and some of us are not, but all of us are united in our passion to protect the natural beauty of our waterfront community.
For some of us who live here year round, Colindale has been our home since birth, and our coveted land has been in our family for generations. We consider ourselves privileged to be the stewards of this beautiful property and to preserve its unique charm. We want to continue the tradition of passing it on to our descendants in its current enjoyable state.
Many of us who “come from away” have deep family roots in Cape Breton and are proud of our Celtic heritage, although this might not be obvious from our last names which have changed over the generations. We travel from as nearby as Port Hawkesbury and Sydney and as far away as the west coast or the USA. Some of us have been coming for decades to visit family and friends, and many of us have countless fond memories of family get-togethers, picnics and lobster dinners, hikes, bike rides and scenic drives along the picture-perfect coast and, of course, those stunning summer sunsets. Colindale is a microcosm whose pristine natural beauty and unobstructed views of the coastline is a rarity in today’s world which is increasingly populated by man-made structures. Unfortunately, due to work, family and other obligations many of us are not fortunate enough to live in Colindale year round. However, this reality does not minimize our passion for the area.
Hopefully, readers will view this letter as more than just another personal interest story, but a warning shot to other property owners in coastal communities where much natural beauty and personal enjoyment is at stake. Opinions received from individuals with decades of experience selling real estate in Cape Breton’s waterfront communities indicate that property values will be seriously impacted. After all, why would someone pay good money to buy a property close to the ocean if there is a wind turbine close by?
Over the past three weeks, many of us have voiced to the project backers and various levels of government that having wind turbines next door will seriously impact the enjoyment of our property, lower the quality of life for current and future residents, and hurt property values.
We Colindalers are not a classic case of “not in my backyard”, and we do not wish to export this project into the backyard of another community. We suggest relocating the Colindale project to one of the many more suitable uninhabited areas of Inverness County where the impact on the natural beauty of the area, property owners and tourism will be much smaller. By our estimates, the developable portion of our quaint waterside community (at roughly 10 square km) accounts for less than approximately 0.3 per cent of the land in Inverness County. Surely, many more suitable places exist.
In Ontario, close to 100 townships and counties have deemed themselves unwilling hosts of wind turbines, according to Ontario Wind Resistance. Approximately a decade ago, many well-intentioned people there were seduced by the allure of wind turbines. Since then, many who lived close to them share stories of regret, of being unable to enjoy their property during the day or at night, of having to abandon their homes due to health worries, and of lawsuits initiated by honest people who are forced to sue to recover lost property values. It would be wise for those of us in Inverness County to learn as much as possible from the mistakes in Ontario and not repeat them. The good news is that it’s not too late.
At this point, we stress that none of us oppose green energy and that all of us support reducing green-house gas emissions and wind turbines, per se. However, wind turbine projects should not be put up anywhere in the name of Green Energy. Projects need to be “socially” responsible. Projects which impose material costs on neighbouring property owners should be road-blocked and relocated.
Left unchanged, the proposal put forward by the Chestico Museum generates a win/lose outcome. Moving it elsewhere would enable the museum to preserve its profit stream and allow us to preserve Colindale. In the past, people in the area successfully relocated a proposal to install an unsightly cell phone tower and we have seen legislation installed to protect us against fracking. Insulating ourselves from wind turbines is no different.
In closing, we support Bill Dunphy’s view that Inverness County could go a long way to preventing future conflicts by enacting a by-law that establishes a one- or two-mile buffer zone along the entire coastline (with perhaps some exceptions in uninhabited areas where tourists would not see them and nearby property owners might not oppose them).
(Bradford Verge, Concetta Verge, Francis Morris, Carol Morris, Crystal Morris, Nolan Morris, Brodie Morris, Eilidh Beaton, Helen Smith, Donna MacDougall, Robert Taylor, Marjorie Taylor, Donna Stein, Michael Stein, Peter Stein, Burton Leach, Patricia Leach, Geoff Crickmay, Wanda Crickmay, Emily MacDonald, Phylis Burke, John Shebell, Melinda Shebell, Gerard MacDonald,
Laura MacDonald, Norman MacDonald)