County Wind Energy Pause Concerns Mi’kmaq
There was an ominous tone in a letter tabled yesterday at Cumberland County Council.
The letter, from Terry French, represented the Mi’kmaq interest in a wind energy proposal in Westchester, now put on pause by the county.
French noted that council opens its meetings with an acknowledgement that Cumberland is in the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, then goes on to say, “It would seem only proper to reach out to Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq before considering a pause” on the Westchester wind project in which the 13 Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq First Nations are equity owners.
French said, “We ask that you give serious consideration to the fact that your municipality is within Mi'kma'ki, and that your seeking, even if indirectly, to prevent Mi'kmaq from using the resources of their territorial lands will not help achieve Reconciliation.”
French noted that Natural Forces, a partner in the Westchester project, had already objected to the delay and he added, “We are in compete agreement.”
The letter reminds council that the partners “have been paying municipal taxes since 2012 on one project and on our project since 2017. The economic spinoffs to the Cumberland area during construction, while only a one time occurrence, were significant and the ongoing goods and service consumed in the day to day operations certainly contribute to the local economy through small businesses, land owners' rental and the municipality.”
Council accepted the letter, for information, and suggested there will be lots of opportunity for dialogue during public hearings on the review of the county’s wind energy bylaw.
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