Singer Anne Murray, Tim Hortons co-founder at odds over planned wind farm

Legendary Canadian singer Anne Murray is trying to stop construction of a wind farm near her Pugwash, N.S., summer home and that's put her at odds with another local success story.

Murray, known for No. 1 hits such as Snowbird, You Needed Me and Danny's Song, has written to Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter asking him to cancel the proposed $85-million project sited near the village, its scenic golf course and about three kilometres from her summer home, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports.

"Pugwash is simply the wrong place for this," Murray, born in nearby Springhill, told the Chronicle-Herald from her home in Jupiter, Florida.

North Cumberland Wind Farm, an affiliate of Atlantic Wind Power Inc., plans to put up to a dozen wind turbines about two kilometres from Murray's summer place north of Halifax, where she reportedly spends three to four months a year.

Work on the wind farm, which would produce up to 33 megawatts of electricity, would begin next year if it's approved.

Murray, 66, is a member of the Gulf Shore Preservation Society, which opposes the project. She said she shares the association's concern that the environmental assessment for the project that the developer filed with the provincial Environment Department is incomplete.

The group wants public consultation stopped but the department says the assessment complies with its guidelines and the project review would continue.

Murray wrote Dexter that building the wind farm on the picturesque coastline would harm tourism and property values, The Canadian Press reported.

"Wind turbines are imposing structures and definitely not the kind of thing one wants to see from a golf course," Murray, an avid golfer, wrote the premier. "Turbines are a curiosity, but only once."

She added that the turbines would not be visible from her home. But Murray told The Canadian Press she believes in renewable energy but wind turbines should be built in communities that really want them.

"People are going to a place like Pugwash and that whole area to escape from industry, to have the serenity of the surroundings and the beauty," she said. "I think this would be a blight."

But Charles Demond, president of the wind farm company, denied the project would hurt the tourism-dependent economy.

"The vast majority of cottage owners are going to be a kilometre or more away," he said in an interview. "It's a project that's supported by a number of folks in the community and area."

That support apparently includes Ron Joyce, one of the founders of the Tim Hortons doughnut empire, who was born nearby and owns a luxury golf course and resort near Pugwash.

"I am aware of Anne's ongoing negative comments on wind farms," he said in an email to the National Post. "I personally am not a supporter of her argument. [T]he world is moving forward for a better source than fossil fuels…. I see no major negatives in countries that have them."