CHN holds Naikun vote Dec. 10

  • Nov. 23, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Council of the Haida Nation is holding a vote to see whether people want to enter into a business partnership with NaiKun Wind Energy Group, the company that is hoping to build an offshore wind farm in Hecate Strait. The general voting day is Dec. 10, said chief electoral officer Jennifer Russ, and an advance poll will be held on Dec. 3. Polls will be open on both days in Old Massett, Skidegate, Prince Rupert and Vancouver. Mail-in ballots are available for Haida citizens who can’t make it to these polling locations, Ms Russ said. Voting is open to anyone of Haida ancestry who is at least 16 years old as of Dec. 3, Ms Russ said. The statement on the ballot will read “That HaiCo on behalf of the Haida Nation enter into a business partnership with NaiKun Wind Energy Group in the production of electricity from offshore wind in the Hecate Straits”. Voters will be able to vote “yes” or “no” in response. The wind farm has undergone an environmental review, but the company does not yet have a contract to produce power. It submitted a proposal to BC Hydro’s “clean power call” in 2010, but was turned down. The project has been controversial within the Haida community, with some members saying the installation and operation of the 110 massive turbines could hurt marine animals and birds, and poses environmental and financial risks. Supporters have said the wind resource could help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions, could get Haida Gwaii off its dependence on diesel-produced electricity, and could produce jobs and revenue for the islands. The Haida Nation commissioned an independent report on the wind farm that was completed in August by two researchers from Simon Fraser University. They concluded that the wind farm could bring potential economic benefits with little risk, and that it is unlikely to have any significant adverse environmental risks.

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