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No lack of energy in desire to keep turbines out of Prince Edward County

On hand to answer questions to a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night at councillor Steve Ferguson’s Milford Town Hall meeting were OPP’s Nicole Lott, APPEC’s Orville Walsh, lawyers Dave DeMille and Samantha Foster, the County’s Director of Operations Preston Parkinson, Mayor Robert Quaiff, CAO James Hepburn, MPP Todd Smith.

A standing-room-only crowd that filled the Milford Town Hall Tuesday night heard no stone will be left unturned in effort to stop industrial turbines from affecting South Marysburgh.

Delays in paperwork, approvals, permits and threats of legal action loom as the municipality, its legal team and citizen groups seek ways to navigate the Ontario government’s rigid Green Energy Act.

About 150 people were in attendance at the meeting, set up quickly by the township’s councillor Steve Ferguson.

“We’re at an interesting juncture,” said Ferguson. “wpd has threatened intrusion beginning next Sunday and Kathleen Wynne’s government agreement allows that intrusion. The Green Energy Act violates the principles upon which Prince Edward County was founded… To have this corporation come in and say ‘we’re going to stake 500-foot towers around the village of Milford’ is just unacceptable to me. But the Liberals have informed us, and every other municipality, that we have no rights, saying the Green Energy Act is going to prevail and we will put turbines wherever we want… re-arrange the paperwork after the Environmental Review Tribunal removed 20 turbines, reducing the project to nine. They keep moving the goalposts.

“Prince Edward County – the poster child of tourism, is being violated by nine turbines that will not do much more than power a toaster,” said Ferguson.

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith agreed the project is providing energy the province does not need and is being pushed through by the Ontario government.

“I know we were all very hopeful after the Gilead decision came back that it was going to be lights out for the wpd project as well. (REA for nine turbines on the south shore was revoked after six-year legal battle with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists),” said Smith.

As the Energy Critic for the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park, Smith said it’s uncanny how many projects have been going ahead from those who made financial contributions to the Liberal government.

“We do have a caged animal on our hands here with wpd. I commend County Council for standing up to corporate bullies… The amount of energy and money that this community has contributed to this fight is impressive and we’ve had wins along the way, a few losses, but where we are right now is the most precarious precipice that we’ve been on in the last few years. Keep up the fight.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff explained the County’s continued conversations with the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) and others.

“The REA needs two amendments – the first because the transmission line was shortened and came from underneath to on top, on poles, and the next is going from 69kvs to 49kvs, that also needs an amendment,” he said. “We asked about the start of construction and there is no amendment needed. They can just go ahead. Just another area, in my opinion, where the Green Energy Act is flawed.”

He also noted substantive changes to the Road Users Agreement (RUA) which includes entrance permits, building permits, overloads and large equipment that were also not addressed.

“I’ve had more conversations with the IESO today and I’m waiting for information from them. I also spoke to minister Thibeault’s office (new Minister of Energy) who will also provide information tomorrow. I will share that information. Famous ballplayer Yogi Berra said ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over’ and although it looks like doom and gloom right now with these nine turbines, we are keeping that thought of Yogi’s in mind. We’ll keep fighting the fight.”

Nine turbines on private properties of six landowners have been allowed by the Environmental Review Tribunal.

For the County, as an official “unwilling host” and many citizens surrounding the affected areas, and beyond, that’s still nine too many and the changes in the downsizing of the project have unearthed further difficulties.

The County’s was notified on July 31 by wpd Canada that it plans to get its nine turbine project under way as soon as Sunday, Sept. 10. A further letter dated Aug. 23 stated wpd would engage legal action should the County refuse to issue permits by Sept. 7.

Council, at a special meeting called by Mayor Robert Quaiff Aug. 31, unanimously agreed to inform staff not to issue any approvals or permits until wpd fulfills requirements of the Road Users Agreement (RUA) and provisions of the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) related to the County’s roads.

The County, however, has limited authority, said Dave DeMille partner in the Templeman Menninga law firm, retained by the County. Its ability to stop any work related to the turbines, is limited to impact on the County’s roads.

“The authority given the County in the Green Energy Act is for roads, use of roads and even then it is given begrudgingly,” said DeMille. “Ordinarily the municipality can control development through official plans, bylaws and site plan controls for what development and where development happens and the details that go along with that but under this particular act, the government has decided that municipalities will not have that authority. It has been taken away.”

He explained the road use agreement protects the County’s interests vis-a-vis the roads – regulate what construction is done and when on the roads and exits, along with indemnity provisions if someone is hurt and a letter of credit (money) in case the company disappears.

“That is the extent of the municipality’s authority with respect to this project,” said DeMille. “They have to observe the contents of the agreement that affect the County’s roads. For example, distribution lines that were underground and are now on poles have not been approved by the REA so the County, in my opinion, has an argument that this affects their roads and they cannot do it until they have approval under the REA.”

Garth Manning, of Hillier, commended council on its resolution to withhold permits, and suggested seeking a second opinion from an independent litigator to declare the road use agreement ‘frustrated’ under the Ontario Frustrated Contracts Act.

“Would you not prefer the courts to decide rather than the suspect Queen’s Park bureaucracy where the fix is already definately in?,” asked Manning.”

DeMille explained the act is based on performance obligations and wpd is prepared to perform.

Angela Miller lives on Maypul Road and worried that no contact has been made by wpd regarding the tearing up of the road that may affect water for their 140-herd cattle, milk delivery and the issue of ‘stray voltage’.

Some citizens suggesting banding together for protests. OPP constable Nicole Lott explained ways the police can assist with lawful demonstrations and protests.

“We do a lot of mediation in support of lawful demonstrations. We don’t take an opinion one side or the other. Our main focus is public safety.”

Several people suggested the importance of gaining national media attention. Celebrity support was presented as an option as was starting a new religion, or perception of a new religion, where the turbine is the greatest of unholy symbols. Use of social media was encouraged.

Bob McMurtry, professor emeritus at Western University, suggested council research bylaws related to ‘vibroacoustic disease’ regarding the body’s response to excessive exposure to low-frequency noise.

Steve Ferguson thanked the crowd for attending and participating.

“I know there are still questions and we are trying to get answers. There is no shortage of effort going into dealing with this project and this company… Rest assured all at this table, APPEC, Garth and Dr. McMurtry and so many others will look under every stone.”

 

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  1. Richard Mann says:

    News from Huron County. An investigation into health impacts of wind turbines was initiated in March 2016. (Ontario’s HPPA, Health Protection and Promotion Act). Since then we have had one delay after another, and still no remedy for those living under turbines.

    As of Aug 14, 2017, Erica Clark informed me they have heard back from University of Waterloo ethics and have submitted another ethics application to address concerns raised. Meanwhile I have been told that all communications of the ethics board, including the names an positions of the applicants, is confidential.

    I am asking for transparency, and for immediate action on this urgent health issue.

    For further details, including correspondence and my own research on Infra sound and wind turbines, please see my web page below.

    Sincerely,
    Richard Mann
    Associate Professor, Computer Science
    University of Waterloo
    http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~mannr

    Encl: Correspondence with Erica Clark. Published with permission.
    —————–

    From: Erica Clark
    Date: August 14, 2017 at 3:52:44 PM EDT

    You can publish/circulate the following summary:

    Status of the Huron County Health Unit wind turbine study

    The wind turbine study is currently undergoing ethics review. Due to the sensitive nature of the information we intend to collect, ethics clearance is important to ensure the recruitment and data collection methods are ethical. We partnered with researchers from the University of Waterloo to do the study and submitted an application to the University of Waterloo Human Research and Ethics Committee. The application was submitted on March 2, 2017 and reviewed at the March 23, 2017 meeting. On April 5, 2017 we received a letter from the University of Waterloo Human Research Ethics Committee listing revisions and additional information required to receive ethics clearance. We sent a response back to the University of Waterloo Human Research Ethics Committee on May 18, 2017 detailing the changes we had made. The University of Waterloo Human Research Ethics Committee met in June and sent us a second letter on June 27, 2017 outlining additional revisions and requests for clarification. We sent a second response back to the University of Waterloo Human Research Ethics Committee on August 9, 2017. We are now waiting for a response.

    We understand that it is a long process to get ethics clearance but it is a critical step to ensure that the recruitment and data collection methods are ethical.

    Thanks
    Erica
    ____________________________________
    Erica Clark, PhD
    Epidemiologist, APHEO Secretary
    Huron County Health Unit
    77722B London Rd., RR #5
    Clinton, ON N0M 1L0
    519.482.3416 ext. 2022
    Toll-free 1.877.837.6143
    http://www.huronhealthunit.ca
    eclark@huroncounty.ca

  2. Susan says:

    Did construction initiate today as reported by WPD?

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    Mario, two points:
    1. We have not lost the fight. Stay tuned.
    2. I trust that you have contributed something more than looking our leaders in the eye.

  4. Ken Globe says:

    Mario, Neil is probably busy getting ready for Farm-Aid, which happens on the 16th of September. He’s been a performer and supporter of that since it’s inception. As for his sister, she doesn’t just “hang around” here, she lives here, and also works here.

  5. Borys Holowacz says:

    I drove to the Milford meeting in my 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid. No government subsidies.

    Did very well getting 4.8 litres per 100 km on the trip. Overall summer/winter, I get 5.4 litres per 100 km.

    Back in 2008 the government should have relied more on conservation. The Liberals could have supported hybrid car technology and air source heat pumps to heat rural homes.

    I would also have been okay with solar panels on all new home construction, where applicable and most particularly in the GTA.

    The people of Ontario could have worked together, as a closely knit society and lower green house gas emissions at a much lower cost.

    Instead many billions of dollars wasted and people in conflict with each other.

    Wasted time and wasted effort that all began with the Green Energy Act of 2009.

  6. Chris Keen says:

    It makes absolutely zero sense to build turbines to produce expensive power we are then going to sell at a loss to their US because we don’t need it! That just fiscal irresponsibility if nothing else.

  7. Hazel says:

    Finally! Wind turbines coming to PEC! After 16 years of disappointment we finally moved out of the County to a more progressive community with a turbine project. So happy to be out of all the nastiness over this issue.

  8. Mario says:

    It was wonderful to be in this room. I was so happy that 2 front row seats were left vacant because I wanted to look our leaders in the eye so they knew how serious this issue was for us as landowners “directly” effected by these monster 2 megawatt power generators. Sadly we were mostly “locals” in this room. Missing were Toronto, National or global media representatives. Seems they only come to the “county” for “fun” and to sip some wine. Oh and look no “elected” party MPP’s and only ONE conservative MPP showed up. And where are all the amazing nature loving Canadian artists. Where was Neil Young – his half sister hangs out here and he wrote a song about small Ontario towns – you’d think old Neil would help us out but even he was home somewhere working on more important things I guess. Thanks for caring Todd Smith but where were your party friends? Seems the conservative missed a “perfect” opportunity to show us small town folks and our little community that conservatives care about us. We don’t have a chance against a large global corporation without help from our fellow Canadians so in my mind this is a done deal. I now know how it must have felt to be at the Alamo wondering/hoping help would show up. We lost this fight not because “we” at the local level didn’t try but because only we at the “local” level cared enough to show up and tell a big global corporation they don’t have the right to push around a whole community with hundreds of landowners because they have “leased” small pads of land and road use to them from just SIX landowners. How can “six” landowners control what happens on lands/roads, water tables shared, used and owned by hundreds of landowners? How did we let an Ontario level Government write up a green energy act that gave corporations rights to control communities and the people that live in them?

  9. hockeynan says:

    I am sure that the landowners want them.I agree with Wevil,let’s get on with the turbines

  10. Susan says:

    In case you have been in isolation for the past few years and missed the meeting Tuesday, they are not wanted!

  11. wevil says:

    build the turbines

  12. Borys Holowacz says:

    Chris 2,
    Here is a link where you will find a map outlining where the 9 turbines will be placed.
    https://appec.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/2613/

  13. Joe says:

    Has anyone considered going back to the feds, DND, with the Trenton base expanding like crazy as we are seeing more and more low level flights over the south shore of the county, a lot of them go right over Milford and area, this may be another way trying to put an end to it.

  14. Chris2 says:

    Can anyone supply a map,of the exact locations of the nine towers?

  15. Gary says:

    Interesting manouvers while our Mayor is considering running in the next election for the Wynne government.

  16. Borys Holowacz says:

    Our current plight has received attention on Global News.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/3723155/prince-edward-county-fearful-construction-of-wind-turbine-farm-could-begin-this-weekend/

    Mayor Quaiff and Councillor Ferguson show resolve and strong leadership by fighting wpd and the Wynne government.

  17. Chuck says:

    This is quickly looking like a done deal. The government has been annoyed by the fight back and losses in Prince Edward. Any success even if just 9 will bring satisfaction to Miss Kathleen. This is more about saving face than taxpayer $$!

  18. hockeynan says:

    The oversized loads will have a special permit.They would never make it down the 401 so don’t worry about the county plus the MTO tells them what roads to travel on

  19. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Kudos to Steve Ferguson for putting this very important event together on short notice. Thanks to all the participants.
    Here is a suggestion.The OPP officer present indicated that any oversize load seen by a citizen should be reported to them. The OPP would then call in the MTO to weigh that vehicle. I would suggest that everyone keep their eyes peeled for oversize loads – dump trucks, trucks carrying equipment etc. We do not need more roads in PEC in the condition of Cty Rd 49.

  20. Chris Keen says:

    I commend you on your thorough coverage of this meeting.

    I came away from the meeting thoroughly outraged by the provincial government’s continued handling of this project. It could have been cancelled with NO penalty. Instead the capacity off the project was reduced to what nine turbines can generate so that it can proceed. WHY? The government acknowledges Ontario has surplus (expensive) power it must sell at a loss to the US. Why ruin a village, and a county the government showcases as a reason for tourists to visit Ontario, for the piddling amount of energy this project may produce?

    I guess we’ll never know what role political campaign contributions make in the government’s decision making process.

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