Meeting planned on Scott’s Bay tidal development

Wendy Elliott
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Halcyon Tidal Power, the American power company, has scheduled a public meeting on what could be a multibillion-dollar tidal power project for Scott’s Bay.

The first local town hall meeting to discuss the tidal power project will be held at the Old Orchard Inn on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 7: to 9:30 p.m., said CEO Ted Verrill of Connecticut.  

Verrill said he hoped that the local community would check out the information beforehand about tidal power in general and this project in particular on his firm’s website, www.halcyontidalpower.com

Halcyon has indicated it wants to build a $3 billion lagoon-style tidal facility in Scott’s Bay. The 1,100-megawatt tidal barrage would stretch 10 kilometres from Baxter’s Harbour to Cape Split.

Read more about Halcyon's plan. 

Reaction to the proposal has included an online petition with over a thousand names calling on the province to reject the company’s request for a marine lease.

Local residents, like Natalie Aalders, fear a tidal structure would detract from the natural beauty of the area and impact tourism. They also worry a tidal barrage could disrupt the ecosystem and threaten marine life.

Halcyon executives will be meeting with provincial officials and First Nation communities when they are in Nova Scotia in early February.

Project could cause silt

Former Acadia University geology professor David Keighley, who now teaches sedimentology at the University of New Brunswick, says that barrages are essentially solid walls (dykes) that have been built in the Valley region for centuries.

“(They) have been built deliberately to change the natural environment by silting up parts of the Bay of Fundy for farming,” he said. 

To build a similar solid wall across Scott’s Bay, he believes, would also stop tidal flow and quickly silt up that area.

However, Keighley added, “I do not know the details of the project, but understand the engineers have designed something closer to an underwater windmill, and the barrage will not act like a dam, but will simply support the turbines, allowing for a normal tidal flow and so likely little change in silting rates.”

Keighley, who used to take his classes out to Scott’s Bay, says little change to silting rates and tidal flow would have to be supported by studies in a compulsory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 

He added that he is sure “if EIAs were around in Evangeline times, ‘nature’ in the Valley would look a whole lot different than it does now.”

Speaking to the ‘not in my backyard’ tendency, Keighley said, “it is imperative for the local, national and global good that wind, tidal and solar power production increases, and so someone has to allow construction to go ahead in their area – always provided EIAs are positive.”

Province aware of proposal

Provincial energy department spokesman Darcy MacRae says the province is aware of the proposal for a large tidal project in Scott’s Bay and has spoken to Halcyon Tidal Power about the company’s plans.

“We have communicated to the company the regulatory process it has to follow and referred Halcyon to the steps and procedures outlined in our Marine Renewable Energy Strategy,” he said. “We also noted that prior to submitting an application to the province for any kind of site access (authority is granted by the Department of Natural Resources), the company should consult with First Nations.”

MacRae noted that the province is also aware of the petition opposing the proposed project.

“We understand the concerns of Nova Scotians. That is why we have made it clear that there is a thorough regulatory process in place that the company would need to follow before the project could proceed,” he said.

Organizations: Scotts Bay Community Center, Acadia University, University of New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources First Nations

Geographic location: Connecticut, Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy Nova Scotians

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Recent comments

  • Ben W. Thomas
    February 02, 2014 - 21:07

    In all reality, community-based wind farm developments are a far superior option to support the sustainable development of Nova Scotian communities, environmentally, economically and socially. The jobs would be distributed across the Province, and each community would have more autonomy. This tidal development could start a civil war.

  • Donald Teed
    January 30, 2014 - 13:09

    I don't care about any debates on the economic pros and cons, tourism this way or that way, nor environmental assessment. There is no way this project should go ahead. Cape Split should be a UNESCO heritage site. It is a beautiful, pristine and awesome place. We should not have the view that the only questions to resolve are that a project provides economic benefits and meets regulations. There are sacred things in this world, and some of are so astonishing they are telling you not to touch them. "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone." This generation has to wake up to this wisdom. If we don't act quickly, they will pave paradise.

  • Donald Teed
    January 30, 2014 - 13:08

    I don't care about any debates on the economic pros and cons, tourism this way or that way, nor environmental assessment. There is no way this project should go ahead. Cape Split should be a UNESCO heritage site. It is a beautiful, pristine and awesome place. We should not have the view that the only questions to resolve are that a project provides economic benefits and meets regulations. There are sacred things in this world, and some of are so astonishing they are telling you not to touch them. "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone." This generation has to wake up to this wisdom. If we don't act quickly, they will pave paradise.

  • joy
    January 24, 2014 - 12:27

    tidal development

  • Irmgard Lipp
    January 23, 2014 - 12:25

    I would very much like us to wait for the Environmental Impact Assessment before signing any petitions and getting all revved up about this project. If the EIA is positive, it would be a terrific way to create cleaner energy. I love Scotts Bay as it is now, but I hate the prospects of FRACKING, TAR SANDS in ill-equipped rail cars, electricity produced from dirty coal .... Somewhere we have to allow change to happen. Not in my back yard should not be our prime mantra! I. Lipp

  • dykeman
    January 22, 2014 - 15:28

    “Former Acadia University geology professor David Keighley, who now teaches sedimentology at the University of New Brunswick, says that barrages are essentially solid walls (dykes) that have been built in the Valley region for centuries. (They) have been built deliberately to change the natural environment by silting up parts of the Bay of Fundy for farming,”---WRONG... if the professor new the history of the dykes they were built to keep the salt water back to allow the Acadians to farm what is now some of the richest, thats high in nutrient richest, in case he's not aware, farmland anywhere in the country. They exist not only in NS but NB as well. The "silting" is/was an unintentional by-product of them, now they are some of the richest fishing grounds there are. So, get the facts straight professor before you attempt to sway anyone else regarding this project.

  • Natalie Aalders
    January 22, 2014 - 11:19

    Wendy Elliott, you should fix this story to confirm what you just told us on the Scott's Bay page just moments ago. That Halcyon booked two venues for this meeting, the Scott's Bay Hall and The Old Orchard Inn and that they had no intention of holding the meeting at the Scott's Bay Hall. It will be at the Old Orchard Inn. This is the most sleezy behaviour I have ever seen from a company to try and bait and switch! Imagine the look on our faces when all of Scott's Bay would show up at their community Hall to find out the meeting was at The Old O and no one told us and we didn't have time to get there....Glad you listened to me last night and found this out for yourself. Now THAT should be your next story on Halcyon. They can't be trusted. They are sneaky and manipulated you. How does that feel. Don't worry, they told Brett Bundale at the Chronicle that is was at Acadia and she published that last week....

  • Tammy Johnstone
    January 22, 2014 - 09:06

    I signed the petition and don't want our land destroyed