Wind policy review – what do you think?

October 20, 2023

Dozens of Inverness County residents came out earlier this week to hear about the planned update to the municipality’s wind turbine policy, and to discuss their views on what shape that policy should take.

The engagement sessions are part of a major review which the Eastern District Planning Commission (EDPC) is undertaking on behalf of the municipality – the first time the wind turbine policy has been reviewed since it was adopted in 2012.

Wind energy can be part of a more carbon-conscious energy future, and there is significant untapped potential to harness it in the Atlantic provinces. But since residents’ quality of life is a top priority, the municipality is putting a lot of energy into engaging and informing the public and listening carefully to what they have to say.

Six sessions were held in total, in the communities of Chéticamp, Port Hastings and Inverness. EDPC staff, as well as municipal staff and elected officials, were on hand at each event to engage with members of the public and listen to their concerns, their ideas, and their expertise on the subject.

Open consultation before taking action

A land use bylaw is currently in place to regulate wind turbines within the municipality. It covers a number of aspects, including the placement of turbines with respect to residences, property lines, roads, water courses and coastlines. In the years since those regulations were adopted, wind energy technology has developed significantly. Notably, turbines have become larger and more powerful.

The municipality wants to update the bylaw now, to ensure that residents are adequately protected. The aim is that any new wind turbine development in the future will adhere to regulations which reflect the real needs of any community in the vicinity.

Whether or not you attended one of the public engagement sessions, you can still email EDPC to ask for more information and to share your own views. Get in touch with Mikayla Tait, municipal planner and development officer with EDPC by email: or by phone: 902-631-6610.

Current situation, future proposals

Planning commission staff presented the current policy in some detail. Attendees heard that as things stand today, minimum setbacks from residences and property lines are 600m and 10m (plus the height of the rotor) respectively. These distances reflected the height and capacity of turbines over 10 years ago, but these days, with average turbine heights between 60 and 100m, the proposed setbacks would be significantly greater.

Depending on the number of turbines in a single wind farm, proposed setbacks would range from 1-1.5km from residences.

Any developments would also be subject to noise restrictions. The maximum decibel level from wind turbines at a residence would be 35 dB, and 40 dB at a property line. For comparison, 40 dB is defined as quiet library sounds, while a fridge would be about 50 dB.

Stronger safeguards

Mikayla Tait of the Eastern District Planning Commission says that the changes that are being recommended to the wind turbine policy are the result of much research and analysis on the part of EDPC staff.

The proposals contain a number of safeguards to ensure that neither residents nor the municipality itself experience any unnecessary negative consequences during the installation, use or decommissioning of any future turbine developments.

These safeguards include the obligation for prospective developers to notify property owners within a 2 km radius of any plans to erect test towers, and again if a license approval application is made to the municipality. A minimum of 2 community meetings would have to be held as part of a public consultation process for any proposed development, with all property owners in a 2 km radius notified directly as well as advertisements published in local papers.

For larger wind turbine projects, a citizen monitoring committee would have to be established under the proposals.

What’s more, a decommissioning bond would be required of any developer granted a license to install turbines. The recommended amount of the bond is 125% of the present day estimated costs to decommission and sustainably dispose of materials, once the development reaches the end of its life. This is to preclude municipalities from having to shoulder financial responsibility to dispose of equipment and return sites to their pre-development state.

Stay informed

The public engagement sessions were a valuable opportunity to hear from residents directly, and those who attended said that they found the meetings informative and reassuring. But that’s not the end of the process.

Eastern District Planning Commission, working on behalf of the Municipality of Inverness County, is committed to providing complete and transparent information to all interested residents about the wind turbine policy review.

Most importantly, residents are encouraged to examine the proposals and share their views so that the proposals can fully reflect the needs of the community.

The EDPC website has a range of public documents explaining the background to the proposals. Residents are encouraged to take the time to consider how they see wind farms as part of our clean energy future. Reach out to Mikayla for more information or to share your views by email: or by phone: 902-631-6610.

You can also let Mikayla know at the contact details above if you would like to be on the email list to receive updates about the process.