Windmill power on the horizon in the Ponoka area

There is a potential for windmill power development in the Ponoka area.

There is a potential for windmill power development in the Ponoka area.

County residents east of Ponoka have been approached by a company interested in developing windmill power on their land. While it is early days yet, a group of landowners are working together to better understand the new development.

Landowners recently held a closed informal meeting to discuss the idea and to determine how this development could affect them. County Coun. Bryce Liddle was not at the meeting but understands there was development similar to this that occurred in the Municipal District of Provost.

He told CAO Charlie Cutforth during a regular county council meeting Tuesday, March 8 that there is some ability to have a minimum setback from a home. Cutforth said the meetings were brought about mainly to ensure that affected landowners could understand how it works.

“They want the facts first and what their options are,” said Cutforth.

In researching Provost’s land use bylaw, Cutforth said the original request to the district to develop windmills was turned down based on neighbours being against it. That application was appealed to the Alberta Utilities Commission, which ultimately overturned the refusal. However, it accepted the district’s bylaws, something the commission is not required to do.

Provost’s bylaws set out clear boundaries and commercial regulations as well as a minimum setbacks at 1.6 kilometres from a controlled highway and two kilometres from a developed area such as a town, village, hamlet or country residential area.

Cutforth says council has directed him to update Ponoka County’s land use bylaw, which currently does not include provisions to accommodate circumstances related to windmill power generation.