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Higgins Mountain Wind Farm Project

April 17, 2023

April 17, 2023

Honourable Timothy Halman
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change
PO Box 442
Halifax, NS B3J 2P8

Dear Minister Halman,

On behalf of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS), we are writing to express our position as it relates to the request for public input into the proposed Higgins Mountain Wind Farm Project.

TIANS has been a longtime champion of highlighting the connection between a healthy environment and a sustainable tourism industry.  Tourism sector operators are respectful of the need for increased use of renewable energy sources; many business owners were early adopters of best practices in sustainability. However, the lack of a historically strong regulatory framework is resulting in proposals of this nature at locations that are inappropriate in site as well as scale. A number of jurisdictions around the world, particularly in Europe, are rethinking onshore wind development policy in light of environmental concerns and current economic models that favour the companies, not the jurisdiction. Nova Scotia should be approaching similar decisions around this in context of a Nova Scotia First policy.

TIANS in partnership with Tourism Nova Scotia is currently embarking on the development of a holistic tourism strategy that will provide a framework for new economic growth. One of the greatest assets for the Tourism Industry is our natural product. A healthy tourism industry is integrally linked with a healthy environment. Adventure and recreational based activities are the fastest growing sectors of the tourism economy, which pre-Covid-19 generated $2.7 billion in revenue and generated over $450 million in tax. People are seeking destinations that value and demonstrate environmental stewardship.

The Wentworth Valley, home to Higgins Mountain, attracts over 100,000 visitors annually who enjoy the stunning lookoffs, waterfalls, trails and mountains. Along with being a core habitat for endangered mainland moose, the area is synonymous as a ski destination, and holds tremendous value as a 4-season destination for visitors. The proposed wind farm development at this site, and the potential long-term effects warrant a deeper examination of impacts and TIANS suggests a comprehensive socio-economic impact analysis be completed prior to final decisions being made.

As we emerge from COVID-19, our environmental priorities should be aligned with our economic opportunities. The concerns raised around the siting and size of wind projects are symptomatic of the broader need for a comprehensive strategy that will support meeting environmental goals without sacrificing the natural assets that the tourism industry is built on. The development of coordinated and robust regulatory processes, from all levels of government, will be an important step in advancing these values.

TIANS appreciates the opportunity to provide a tourism perspective around this important issue.


Wes Surrett

Darlene Grant Fiander
TIANS President

cc: TIANS Board
Minister Pat Dunn, Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage