2010-06-03 / Letters to the Editor

Think before putting a turbine at Ft. Getty

Ft. Getty is Jamestown’s only town park; it is a place for picnics and camping and water-based activities. The views are pristine and historic.

During the summer months, the park is used extensively. The revenue from the campers greatly exceeds the predicted profits of the proposed turbine.

The Wind Energy Committee maintains that the noise associated with the turbines will not be disturbing because there is already so much noise associated with the trailers. Moreover, the proposed site – a small hillside facing south, wedged between the Rembijas Pavilion and the campers – the only remaining “open” space in the park, which is zoned “open and recreational,” will not be a problem either. Never mind the transformer that sounds like an angry swarm of mosquitoes and the blades spinning overhead.

The Wind Energy Committee has included some photos taken at a great distance to demonstrate that the turbines are not that obtrusive. This turbine will stand about the same height as the towers that support the Newport Pell Bridge – taller than a 30-story building, and it will rotate around like a carnival wheel. They made only brief mention of the huge utility poles and tripletiered sets of cables that will run from the park up Ft. Getty Road and across Mackerel Cove. They suggested the town could pay to bury the lines and cited this as a benefit to having a turbine at Ft. Getty. They did not mention where that money would come from, nor did they factor this cost into their “profit models.”

I support renewable energy and the construction of a wind turbine at Taylor Point – the relative return of a single turbine is higher and the exposure to risk not nearly as great. I do not believe it is now or never, as Mr. Wineberg asserts.

The Wind Energy Committee has portrayed this venture as a profitable investment and wants the town to borrow nearly $10 million to make this happen. The return over 20 years on this package is questionable and the associated risk very concerning.

Don Wineberg insists that the money will come from grants and debt, but not tax revenue. The implication is that we will not be impacted by debt the town assumes on our behalf – a diffi- cult argument to make given recent history. If the town decides to place a turbine at Ft. Getty, it should be part of a Master Plan that works and considers all the various options prior to making choices that will define the park for generations to come.
Patrick Driscoll

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