Wind projects better integrated into communities

However, it is with the strength of experience that the communities of Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent are preparing to negotiate with international promoters for the development of the wind power sector.

The regions have not always been so open to discussing the development of the wind power sector.

Social acceptability is notably easier to obtain these days.

The prefect of the MRC of Haute-Gaspésie, Guy Bernatchez, remembers that a few years ago many wind farm and other renewable energy projects were put on hold due to public discontent.

At the time, wind power was more or less popular in the eyes of the general population in relation to the noise it caused and the visual pollution. »

A quote from Guy Bernatchez, prefect of the MRC of Haute-Gaspésie

Guy Bernatchez recalls that his father Paul-Hébert Bernatchez, who also served as mayor of Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis, worked hard to restore the reputation of the wind power industry in the region.

Guy Bernatchez believes that over time, the community has accepted the arrival of the wind industry (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada

My father made a lot of representations within the wind industry, at the time, so that Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis would have royalties for the energy of the Murdochville park. From the beginning of the 2000s until the construction of the park in Mont-Louis, in 2010, I remember that he worked very hard to seek social acceptability because we did not have it at that time. -thehe explains.

According to him, it was not just certain citizens who were against the development of wind farms on the territory. Several mayors in Haute-Gaspésie shared this position.

He was trying to explain to the world that it was green energy, that we should be proud to have it in our backyard and that it would bring us royalties. »

A quote from Guy Bernatchez, Mayor of Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis

The Eastern Alliance

The chosen one believes that it is now easier to negotiate since the creation of the Eastern Alliance.

The Alliance de l’Est, which brings together all the municipalities of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine and MRC of Montmagny and L’Islet, is the financial partner of several projects that will be examined by Hydro-Québec within the framework of its calls for tenders.

My father was told at the time that if you ask too much of the promoters, they won’t come to us, but if you don’t ask enough, everyone will be disappointed. That’s why the importance of the Alliance, we see it today, compared to a mayor who wants to go into battle almost alonehe points out.

Municipalities impose their needs better

Nowadays, the various stakeholders are also better able to impose their needs. The municipality of Albertville, in La Matapédia, is an example.

Mayor Martin Landry believes that it is essential to discuss with the promoters the consequences that this project could have on the municipality.

Recently, the private company Invenergy presented a wind project for the Routhierville sector, on the unorganized territory of the MRC.

If this project sees the light of day, many heavy trucks could pass through Albertville.

A truck transports a wind turbine tower (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada

The state of the roads, the traffic of carriers and the safety of the population are points he wishes to address. Things have to go well to avoid as many conflicts as possible. […] I see us a bit like partners in the development of a project like thatsays Mr. Landry.

We have to talk to each other. It absolutely goes there. »

A quote from Martin Landry, Mayor of Albertville

Invenergy’s director of development agrees with the notion of partnership.

Social acceptability, for us, is really important and at the heart of the project we are developing today. »

A quote from Louis Robert, Development Director of Invenergy

The community participation criterion is also one of the most important in the weighting grid that allows Hydro-Québec to analyze the promoters’ various projects.

With information from Jean-François Deschênes

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