One of the topics we addressed a few times over in my landscape architecture classes this year is the issue of our current landscape values and how new technologies may conflict with them. This was again brought to mind for me this week when I saw two news reports on the CBC – one announcing Nova Scotia’s latest commitment to renewable energy, and the other out of Lunenburg about the conflict between heritage planning values and energy conservation values.
A couple in Lunenburg want to put solar panels on their roof; this is against against Lunenburg’s heritage conservation bylaws, which are designed to preserve the town’s internationally recognized historical landscape. It’s a conflict that we might see a lot more of in the coming years, particularly if the province’s new energy initiative has tangible results. Do solar panels work against the integrity of heritage landscapes? Are wind turbines an ugly blight on our landscape, a utilitarian sight that is merely acceptable, or an icon of sustainability and therefore, potentially, attractive? And if our landscape and coastline is transformed by these new energy endeavours, how are we going to reconcile it to our own vision of what Nova Scotia’s landscape looks like, as well as with our current tourism approach?