Ministry approves 27 wpd turbines in ‘unwilling host’ County — July 16 article

July 17, 2015 Borys Holowacz Latest Posts

Approval for 27 of 29 industrial wind turbines has been received by wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated (wpd Canada) for the White Pines project in South Marysburgh and Athol wards.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) announced approval Thursday for the $195-200 million 20-year project.

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff called the news “disturbing” and stated the county remains an unwilling host. He is “appalled the provincial government continues to ignore rural Ontario municipalities.

“Let me make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that we in Prince Edward County do not want industrial wind turbines. Period. We remain an unwilling host and to date the province has ignored us and wpd has ignored us. In fact they’ve hid behind the GEA (Green Energy Act) and are hell bent on ruining the peace and joy of our residents that live here.”

Quaiff is a member of the Wainfleet Working Group supporting 90 “Unwilling Host” municipalities in Ontario to help address their concerns with industrial wind turbines.

Controversy has surrounded the wpd project, just as it has the nine turbine Gilead Power project at Ostrander Point which is heading back to the Environmental Review Tribunal to make a case for “remedy” that would protect the threatened Blanding’s Turtles. The Ontario Court of Appel reversed a lower court ruling regarding a REA approval. The decision reinstated the initial finding of the ERT that turbines would cause the turtles “serious and irreversible harm”.

Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, said members are astounded that the government is going ahead with approvals of industrial developments in a significant wildlife habitat area which was brought to light by their tribunal appeal.

“A broad swath of land on the Prince Edward County South Shore, essential to wildlife survival, will be destroyed because the provincial government will not live up to its responsibility for preserving Endangered Species,” she said. “The province should allow conservancy trusts to preserve this land which is important to the County’s nature-based economy and move energy generation projects to brownfields where they belong.”

wpd is hoping for smooth sailing. Since 2012, wpd has been involved in a neighbour against neighbour $14 million civil lawsuit that was later dropped and a judicial review.

“We’re hopeful we can begin construction this fall or next spring,” said Kevin Surette, wpd spokesman. “Our application was submitted to the MOECC in September 2013 and we are confident it has undergone a comprehensive review.”

Public Consultation on the proposal was provided for 60 days, from March 11, 2014 to May 10, 2014. The Ministry states it received a total of 155 comments: 95 comments were received in writing and 60 were received online.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.

The REA requires wpd to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility with 21 conditions:

-comply with the Ministry’s noise emission limits at all times
-submit an updated acoustic assessment report for the approved turbines that excludes turbines T07 and T11 within 10 days of the date of the approval
-carry out an acoustic emission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment and the wind turbine generators
-submit a site-specific Stormwater Management Plan and Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, as outlined, to the Ministry at least one month prior to the commencement of construction, and to not commence construction until the plans have been approved in writing by the Director
-monitor turbidity levels, as outlined
-collect water samples to be analyzed for total suspended solids, as outlined
-not take more than 50,000 litres of water per day
-design, construct and operate a spill containment system, as outlined
-implement the post construction natural heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring
-contact the Director and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry if any of the bird and bat mortality thresholds -are exceeded and implement the operational mitigation measures, as outlined
-ensure that activities requiring authorization under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 will not commence until necessary authorizations are in place
-follow avoidance techniques for Blanding’s Turtles, as outlined
-implement the recommendations for the protection of cultural heritage resources and protected properties, as outlined
prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to Prince Edward County and enter into a Road Users Agreement
-make reasonable efforts to keep Prince Edward County informed of construction and operation activities associated with the facility, and make reasonable efforts to ensure that all commitments made to Prince Edward County are met
-prepare an Emergency Response and Communications Plan to address each Project phase (construction, operation and decommissioning)
-properly address any archaeological resources discovered
-create a community liaison committee with members of the public and with the Applicant
-maintain ongoing communication with interested Aboriginal communities
-maintain records of the operation and maintenance of equipment and inspections and complaints related to the facility, and
-notify the Ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility.

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