Highwood Memorial Centre is moving forward with its proposed renewable energy project. The centre initially wanted to build a wind turbine and solar panels at the centre. But the turbine plan was with held by the center's board. Now with some recent developments, the centre is back to its plan. The project will cover about 30% of the power needed for the centre and the cost has already been figured into the expansion plans of the centre.
“There was some concern about the amount of wind at the centre and the height of the turbine,” Highwood Memorial Centre’s Chairman of the board Irv Cherneski said.
Cherneski further continued that there was a proposed alternative location at the lagoon outside of town, near Cargill.
“We’ve been trying to find the best site, said Harry Harker, manager for the Town of High River. “One of the things we’re looking at is if you’re going to put up a wind turbine you have to make sure it’s windy enough so it’s getting the kind of power from it you could.”
Cherneski said that people were asking him what was going on with the project so he spoke with Harry Harker, manager for the town, and was told the owner was considering putting it atop a hill at the landfill site, owned by the M.D. of Foothills. Cherneski said that he was concerned the centre’s contribution and hard work may not get recognized with the new location.
“I went back to the board, told them about the landfill and they said ‘we paid for it, it’s ours, we want it back on the Memorial Centre,’” Cherneski said. “They felt very strongly about that so we wrote a letter to that effect and I made a presentation to a committee.”
Cherneski said he made a presentation to the town’s sustainability committee and found the project as in line with the committee’s goals. Cherneski said he hopes the issue will end up in front of the town council soon
Harry Harker said the town is working on the issue and would prefer an alternative location.
“We don’t believe the community is terribly supportive of having it here in town,” Harker said. “We have a track record of not liking towers in town. The other side of it is we don’t have a problem with them putting up the solar intake cells.”
Other board members voiced their support for getting the project back at the centre.
“Part of the reason for putting it there is to showcase the technology and educate the people of High River,” said Herb Haekel, a member of the board.
“Renewable energy is the way of the future,” Cherneski said. “We want to give people a chance to look at it, it’s a great chance for education. The school could bring kids in to look at and that’s who we need to sell this to, the kids. This is the future, this is what our landscape is going to look like in 20 years.”