Tour the trails and turbines of Van Tassel Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
WIN, WIN, WIND SITUATION
Combining recreation and clean energy in Mount Pleasant
MOUNT PLEASANT, N.S. – Clean water, clean energy and outdoor recreation combine within the Van Tassel Lake Watershed Area.
The Municipality of the District of Digby, the Town of Digby and the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association are holding an open house in Mount Pleasant at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11 to celebrate their various partnerships in Mount Pleasant.
The Town of Digby owns 550 acres of land around Van Tassel Lake which serves as the town’s back-up water supply. Development and use of this land is strictly controlled through the town’s Water Source Protection Plan.
The Town leases land there to the Municipality for its two wind turbines and has also signed an agreement with the trails association allowing them to construct and maintain hiking trails.
Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland says the town was especially excited to support the trail project on their land.
“When the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association approached us, we realized right away these trails would benefit our residents and even attract visitors to the area,” says Cleveland. “The trails offer a place to connect with nature, to get some exercise and fresh air. Combine that with the turbines, and this is really a win, win, wind situation for everybody.”
Jimmy MacAlpine, Warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby, says the two wind turbines are an investment in a sustainable green future for the Municipality.
“We are always looking for ways to increase revenue for the Municipality, for innovative ways to keep taxes down,” says MacAlpine. “And with this project we also reduce our carbon footprint and support renewable energy here.”
The Municipality bought the larger 800-kilowatt Enercon turbine from Renewable Energy Services Ltd. in 2016. It has been operational at the site since 2007. Last year the Municipality also erected a second brand new 50-kW Ghre Power turbine.
The two turbines supply enough electricity for approximately 510 homes, displacing about 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
FOR MORE INFO: digbydistrict.ca/wind.html and energy.novascotia.ca/renewables/wind-energy
In 2015 Sean Merrett, president of the Van Tassel Lake Trails Association first approached the Town of Digby and its Water Source Protection Committee for permission to build trails on the Town’s land.
The association of volunteers has since cleared and marked 4 km, including 2.8 km of single track hiking trail around the lake. The trail system also includes a 1 km spur leading to a look off with a view of nearby woodlands and through a gap in the hills to Conway, Smith’s Cove and Marshalltown.
“We are really lucky to have this network of trails so close to town,” says Merrett. “As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m grateful to have a place where we can get out and walk, hike or run. As a high school teacher and father, I’m thinking of young people, giving them a connection to Digby and the outdoors, but really, these trails allow all ages and abilities to access the forest here.”
Van Tassel Lake Trails Association on Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanTasselLakeTrailsAssociation
At the open house the trail association will unveil their new trailhead signage and map and afterwards the public is invited to visit and tour the wind turbines or take a guided hike through the fall woods to the lake. Transportation will be available to bring visitors to the turbines for those unable to walk there.
Linda Gregory, municipal councillor for the area, is thrilled to have the trails in her community.
“I like the idea of a trail where our residents and visitors can be active in nature,” says Gregory. “And you can see both turbines from the trail around the lake – it is a great way to show people we are serious about improving quality of life here, making this a green community and being fiscally responsible by seeking new sources of income for the municipality.”
Van Tassel Lake Open House – tours of Wind Turbines and Trails
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 11
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Where: 859 Culloden Road in Mount Pleasant
For more info: www.digbytrails.ca/Van-Tassel-Lake.html
For more information, contact:
Renewable Energy Program Coordinator
Trails and Open Space Coordinator
Background on the Municipality’s wind turbines and other green energy initiatives:
The Municipality of the District of Digby operates the wind turbines as part of their Climate Action Plan and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.
The turbines have the ability to produce around 2 million kilowatt hours per year. This is enough electricity for approximately 510 homes and displaces around 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. So the investment by the MoDD is the equivalent of taking 212 vehicles off the roads.
Council recommended the purchase of the Enercon E48 (German technology) and the Ghre 2150 (Chinese technology) as part of a strategy to “greening Digby County” and reduce our GHG (greenhouse gases) output.
This project forms part of the Municipality’s Climate Action Plan and ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan) as a way to reduce our carbon footprint. The municipality for its part has signed agreements with Nova Scotia Power to purchase the electricity that is produced from the two turbines. The long term PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) guarantee a specific rate for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced.
The MoDD is involved in other green initiatives as part of its “greening Digby County” strategy. One of the major initiatives was the conversion, completed in 2016, of all municipally owned streetlights from High Pressure Sodium and Mercury Halide to LED (Light Emitting Diode). The 859 lights that were exchanged represent a reduction in energy of about 60 per cent.
Van Tassel Lake in the news:
Digby County turbine in Mount Pleasant marks decade milestone, Digby Courier, Feb. 2017
New trails developed at Van Tassel Lake, Digby Courier, March 2017
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Jonathan Riley, trails and open space coordinator with the Municipality of the District of Digby