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Council filing wind project concerns to ministry and Gilead

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Prince Edward County council has sent a message to anybody who wants to develop a wind farm locally that there are certain criteria that must be met.

“It’s gotten to the point where the municipality has to declare to the province, Gilead Power and other proponents whether or not they’re in support of wind turbines,” said councillor Robert Quaiff in an interview.

County council voted Tuesday to add their comments on the wind farm planned for Ostrander Point to the Ontario Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Bill of Rights registry.

Council also approved a motion reserving staff the right to respond directly to the ministry regarding future environmental registry postings on wind projects proposed for the county.

“I’m pretty sure that this will speak volumes to other proponents that are looking at coming in and whether or not they want to face all of the objections that council plus the people here are going to give them,” said Quaiff. You’re going to face some strong, heavy opposition before you go changing what’s been here for years and years.”

Gilead Power’s project was posted to the registry on Nov. 30 for a 64-day public consultation period. Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith has worked to have the deadline extended to Feb. 19 to allow for more public consultation and health studies to be finalized.

Council included more than 20 comments in its submission to the ministry. Concerns range from health studies and environmental impact, to road maintenance and emergency response plans.

“I don’t know if it’s going to do a lot,” said Quaiff. “I’m hoping it’s going to change the way the province actually wants to do business. I’ve said it time and time again, (Premier) Dalton McGuinty seems to have his own personal agenda and nobody is going to change that.”

Quiaff said Prince Edward County sent a huge message to the Liberal government during last year’s provincial election by unseating incumbent Liberal Leona Dombrowsky.

“That’s a pretty clear message,” said Quaiff. “Dalton doesn’t get it. At the end of the day this municipality has clearly defined its position. I’m sure proponents are going to continue to knock on the door and I’m sure the community is going to remain divisive. Unfortunately it’s just going to continue to eat away at our municipality and our community at large.”

But not every councillor is against wind development in Prince Edward County. Councillor Keith MacDonald said Ostrander Point is an ideal location for a wind farm.

“I don’t think most of Prince Edward County is against this,” said MacDonald.

Councillor Jamie Forrester agreed the county could gain financially from wind development.

“We’re saying it’s going to hurt our economy but in Kingston they’re trying to build more turbines,” said Forrester. “Maybe we should talk to them because they seem to think it’s good for the local economy.”

“I’m not against turbines but the municipality should have input to how many turbines are built and where they go, said councillor Jim Dunlop. “We haven’t got a response from the province. At the end of the day the result may be the same but we haven’t had our day in court to decide one way or the other.”

“If the province hasn’t responded yet, what makes us think they’re going to respond to our concerns on the registry now?” asked councillor Janice Maynard.

“Once it’s placed on the registry I understand that they have to respond to it,” said Quaiff.

Council isn’t the only group that said they haven’t received a response to their concerns regarding the Ostrander Point project.

Karen Hatchard, co-founder of Point to Point in Prince Edward County, told council Gilead hasn’t responded to any of her organization’s letters.

“It’s hard to understand how Gilead’s application has gotten this far,” said Hatchard. “We identified several concerns within their paperwork as have other informed groups in and outside of the county who work to preserve birds and endangered species.”

Hatchard said Gilead’s application doesn’t include a plan for the endangered Henslow’s Sparrow found in Prince Edward County.

“They use the terms potential effects and things could go wrong pertaining to possible chemical leaks,” said Hatchard. “I find it difficult to trust them.”

Trueman Tuck also addressed council about wind proponent Wind Power Development Canada not addressing public concerns regarding property values.

“Residents purchased a property not aware of the lease agreements dealing with wind turbines in PEC,” said Tuck “Now there are plans to construct turbines adjacent to their property. This county shouldn’t allow any development of this type. It’s an irreversible step. Many of us feel like were being forced into it too rapidly.”

The company submitted an application named the White Pine Project in March 2011 allowing private landowners to build turbines on their property.

“They had no advance notice,” said Tuck. “The realtor didn’t tell them until they got the public notice in March 2011.”

Tuck told council how residents have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building their dream retirement homes and now they feel bullied by wind developers.

Landowners aren’t the only ones concerned about money loss when it comes to potential wind developments.

Quiaff said he plans to ask staff to prepare a report outlining how much money council has spent since the first application came forth.
– Courtesy Nicole Kleinsteuber, Prince Edward County Voice: http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/nicolekleinsteuber/

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  1. Lawrence Cornett says:

    Citizens of PEC should say two words when they meet:
    (1) “industrial” and (2) “income.”
    * PEC is not planned for INDUSTRIAL sites all over the County;
    * INCOME of people who have retired here resides in their houses and portable pensions–devalued houses can be left when they move away.

  2. Knowlton Hunter says:

    Mr. Mooney’s 5 points might reasonably be applied to nuclear energy.
    -can’t be stored…basically can’t be stopped! Storage problem is with the waste product which will be dangerous beyond the lifetimes of our great great great great grandchildren – and still no permanent way to safely dispose of it.
    -Used to be they said nuclear energy would be too cheap to measure. Now here we are still paying off the debt from Darlington some 30 years later. Economic arguments against developing renewable, less dangerous power sources flies in the face of the global environmental deficit we face.
    -Which is the greater nuisance and danger to municipalities? What setback will protect those of us downwind from Pickering, Darlington or other proposed installations which you may be sure will also be close to Toronto- and upwind of us!
    -What say have citizens had in the placement and ensuring of safety of these time bombs?
    -None of the nuclear facilities can be insured because no insurance company could cover the potential damages to life and property if one should fail.

    Having fought against the proliferation of nuclear plants in years past myself I have some sympathy for Mr. Mooney’s anti-authoritarian stance on this issue. However, when global climate change threatens to progress beyond the tipping point which will lead to disaster not just for our great, great, great, great, etc. grandchildren but for children and grandchildren alive today I would suggest that there are problems in this world much greater and pressing than whether a tiny minority of people or birds on our windy coast might be impacted to a slight degree by development of wind generation capability in that area.

    I ran for council in the last election and made no secret of the fact that I was supportive of wind energy. Going door to door across Hallowell ward the response I got from constituents was overwhelmingly in favour of developing wind energy in the County. Although I was unsuccessful in my run I was gratified that Keith MacDonald came out strongly in support of wind during that campaign as well and continues to be supportive after his election. In my opinion the majority of the present council are being swayed by the wind of a very vocal minority.

  3. David Norman says:

    @ John Thompson
    You state, “The OFA board decison was approved by a thin margin without having first being vetted by the regional policy advisory councils. Most of the Board members have little to no background in renewable energy”. If so why would they take a position pro or con? What is your background in renewable energy, which you feel allows you to negate the opinions of others? I’m willing to listen to you if you can demonstrate any thoughtful discussion beyond veiled threats and rants to assuage your apparently bruised ego.
    @ John
    You state, “The south shore (land) meets no standards for being an important bird area”. On what credential do you base this statement? Who are we to refer to for truthful information in this regard, you, or local birding enthusiasts, Nature Canada, the Sierra Club, among others?
    Are you being untruthful?

  4. Doris Lane says:

    Here we go again
    Let us remember that Gary Mooney is an Actuary and he knows what he is talking about–check his 5 reasons for not having wind tubines for he is right on. Listen to Dr. Robert McMurtry, who recently received the Order of Canada, see what he has to say about health effects. I understand he will be speaking at the Town Hall meeting called by Todd Smith on Feb 2. See tou there.
    Doris Lane

  5. Chris Keen says:

    It doesn’t matter whether the OFA position was passed by a thin margin or not. What matters is what the OFA is saying:

    “The onus is on our provincial government to ensure the interests of rural Ontarians are protected. OFA is speaking up to clearly outline the issues that must be addressed right now.”

    @Steve – if you’ve got friends on Wolfe Island, call them and ask them what they think of the turbines! Forget Kingston.

  6. John Thompson says:

    The OFA board decison was approved by a thin margin without haveing first being vetted by the regional policy advisory councils. Most of the Board members have little to no background in renewable energy. The decision does not call for a moratorium on contracted wind projects and has little meaning other than a potential public relations disaster in the making. Next years elections could change all of that.

  7. Gary Mooney says:

    The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, representing 37,000 farm families has called for the government to suspend wind turbine development in Ontario, citing the following concerns:
    * Price paid for wind power
    * Inefficiency of wind power — can’t be stored
    * Setback issues and induced currents
    * Health and nuisance issues
    * Removal of municipal input from industrial wind turbine projects

  8. Chris says:

    Yes — my comment was purely associated with the proximity to homes. I hadn’t looked at the documents on Gilead’s web page, thanks! Lots of data there.
    I might venture down there this weekend.

  9. John says:

    The bird issue is a non-issue. The south shore has fewer birds in a year (hundreds of thousands at the Point) than Wolfe island gets in some days (in the millions). The south shore (land) meets no standards for being an important bird area; the waters off the south shore meet those standards for wintering ducks. You will need high powered binoculars or telescope to see them though, as they rarely come near shore. Their numbers are in serious decline because of climate change in their tundra breeding grounds.

  10. Steve says:

    I called a few friends in Kingston after reading the article to ask what they thought of the wind turbines and they replied “What wind turbines”? I guess it’s a non-issue in their eyes.

  11. Tom says:

    Chris,

    I agree with you on how desolate Ostrander Point is. Seems as though the opponents to the wind project won’t be able to even see the turbines UNLESS they drive there. My question is then how are these turbines going to affect property values? Duh… I at present I reside in Pickering until retirement in 3 years after which I will move to the “County”. We have a wind mill right on the beaches( beside the Nuclear Plant)in Pickering. It has been there for some time. There are new, “trendy”, expensive developments all around the area. No one seems to mind. They are all lived in. I just know I’m going to get comments on this post!!!

  12. Gary Mooney says:

    The primary issue at Ostrander Point is the natural environment — bird migration and endangered species. This is close to the worst place in Ontario to put wind turbines re the natural environment.

    There are homes nearby, but not too many that are really close. You can see where houses are located by looking at the site maps on the Gilead website.

  13. Chris says:

    Is the proposed Gilead project at Ostrander Point not well away from any residences? I have driven down there a few times and it seems really desolate to me. If one were to choose a place to install nine turbines, is this area not a good place to do it? I have stared at the Google satellite images and tried to see where there might be an issue, but don’t think I see any houses, except maybe at the bottom of Ostrander Point Rd (?) And the proposed towers are pretty far apart. (I am referring ONLY to the property value concern)

  14. Mark says:

    Any councillor with a lease or negotiating a lease agreement should be declaring a conflict of interest. And farmers that support industrial wind turbines may very well be looking at the $$$ income more than any great desire to influence the carbon footprint.

  15. Doris Lane says:

    Keith has property that had at one time a lease on it.
    Most of the people I talk to in Kingston hate the turbines on Wolfe ISLAND and are definitely against the ones purposed for Amherst ISLAND Wonder where Jamie gets his information
    I look back on what the county was like 50 years ago and then look at it now–what a change and it is only going to get worse.

  16. Tom says:

    Keith is not living in a vacuum. He is just reflecting what is also being said in support of wind generation. Obviously it is about “politcal party” associations and money. Lets get on with it by moving forward. I applaud Keith’s courage to not follow the pack in stating what he believes to be true!!

  17. Gil says:

    Thank you Robert for all your positive Action after “listening” to the Peoples’ Concerns.The Point Project and the disasterous potentials identified to the endangered wild life due to Dalton’s/Gilead Wind Power Project.(A Potential Still??)is unbelievable.
    We need the 3 OTHER County Councillors to listen to the Voters also.
    Thank You.

  18. anne king says:

    Keith MacDonald must be living in a vacuum if he thinks most folk are not against wind turbines. Perhaps he does not have to worry about property values but this is all I have and I don’t want to have to give my house away for next to nothing like the people on Wolfe Island have had to do.

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