Environment minister approves use of giant turbines in Bay of Fundy

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s environment minister has cleared the way for the installation of two giant turbines in the Bay of Fundy for tidal power research, weeks after halting the project to gather more information about its environmental impact.Margaret Miller announced her approval Monday of the monitoring plan drawn up by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and Cape Sharp Tidal Venture.After consulting with concerned fishermen and her counterparts at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Miller said she is satisfied enough with the plan to test the waters of tidal power technology.“This is a demonstration project,” she told reporters on Monday. “There is no place like the Bay of Fundy, so putting these turbines in the water at this point we will be collecting data from now on.”Cape Sharp’s five-storey-high turbines, destined for the Minas Passage, are expected to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. The company, a partnership of OpenHydro and Emera, is one of several who plan to test different turbine technology in the Bay of Fundy.The plan to install the mammoth turbines in the passage has faced strong opposition from the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, which contends that instream tidal turbines can’t be made safe for the ecosystem.Miller said her department has been consulting with the fishermen as part of an ongoing data-gathering process since 2009 and their concerns have been “heard.”No one from the association could be reached for comment.Miller said the project’s environmental effects program will improve the understanding of the interaction between the turbines and marine life.An environmental assessment officer for the department said similar projects in Europe have proven to be “low risk,” but granted that Fundy’s unparalleled tides could present unique challenges.“Until devices are in the water and we have the opportunity to learn what these effects are … that’s largely unknown at this point in time,” Steve Sandford said.Despite the gaps in knowledge, Sandford does not anticipate the 1,000-tonne turbines will have a “food processor effect” on marine wildlife, assuring that the blades spin below sushi-making speeds.If it is determined there is a negative effect on the ecosystem, he said the response could be anything from improving mitigation plans to removal of the devices, depending on the extent of the problem.Sandford said the information collected from the turbine trial run will inform decisions about possible commercial expansions.In a statement, the province said FORCE must develop programs aimed at enhancing marine mammal monitoring and provide more details on contingency planning in the event of equipment failure before it gives the go ahead for more turbines to be deployed. by Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 20, 2016 8:40 am MDT Last Updated Jun 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Environment minister approves use of giant turbines in Bay of Fundy A turbine for the Cape Sharp Tidal project is seen at the Pictou Shipyard in Pictou, N.S., on May 19, 2016. Nova Scotia’s environment minister has cleared the way for the installation of two giant turbines in the Bay of Fundy for tidal power research. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan read more

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Home Office blocks Canadian from teaching Gaelic in Hebridean primary school

first_imgBunessan Primary School, Isle of Mull A Scottish island’s school finally found a Gaelic teacher after a six month search – only for their efforts to be thwarted by the Home Office denying her a visa.The post at Bunessan Primary, on the Isle of Mull, did not attract any Scottish applicants but a Gaelic-speaking Canadian teacher eventually came forward. Sine Halfpenny, from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, agreed to move continent to take the post, but was barred by Home Office officials on the grounds she “failed to meet the required points” required for a visa.The Scottish Government has pushed for more Gaelic education in schools, but despite the difficulties in recruitment, Gaelic teachers do not feature on the Home Office’s Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List which allows visa applications from overseas to be fast tracked. Bunessan Primary started looking for a teacher in June this year and after waiting half a year for a suitable applicant, staff were delighted when Ms Halfpenny applied for the job.As well as speaking Gaelic, Ms Halfpenny studied in Scotland and was professionally qualified to teach in Scottish schools. Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has said the rejection is “ludicrous”, as he urged officials to review their decision. “The parents have done a lot of hard work to get a Gaelic unit established,” Mr Russell said.  Bunessan Primary School, Isle of Mullcenter_img He blamed an “obsession with keeping migration numbers down” for the rejecting the visa application. “I have asked the Scottish Government to support the council in redoubling its efforts to get this sorted for the good of the children and community on Mull,” Mr Russell said. “I hope the UK Government will show some Christmas spirit and withdraw its objection now.”Jennifer Johnson, who has four children at the schools, said that the Home Office’s rejection of Ms Halfpenny’s visa means that the “very existence of Gaelic medium unit will be called into question”.She said: “It felt like a miracle when we were given approval for Gaelic education at our school and when we received an application from a suitably-qualified teacher. “It seemed as though we’d made it and we just needed to get over this last hurdle.”We can’t see any logical reason why Sine should not be given a visa – she is keen to fill a position that no-one in the country has applied to do.A Home Office spokeswoman said: “All visa applications are considered in line with immigration rules and on the evidence provided.”Ms Halfpenny’s visa was refused as she did not submit a certificate of sponsorship. “Her sponsor’s application, for a restricted certificate of sponsorship, was rejected as it failed to meet the required points.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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