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Advisory members to address council on White Pines revised heritage report

Janice Gibbins, chair of the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee is expected to address council Tuesday, regarding the White Pines turbine development Revised Heritage Report.

“In our view, it’s important for council to respond as quickly and strongly as possible to the revised heritage report,” said Liz Driver, who will also address council, as will Edwin Rowse, ERA Architects.

Driver, on Feb. 27, in a deputation to council said the revised heritage report for White Pines came out in February after a heritage community consultation initiated by the Ministry of Culture in fall 2012.

“The findings are extraordinary,” she said and explains in excerpts from her deputation. “For Ontario, it is rare, possibly even the first time, that a heritage impact assessment recognizes negative visual impacts of turbines and concludes that the only mitigation is to move or remove the turbines.

“At the same time, it is astonishing that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport would express satisfaction with a report that recognizes harm to 21 heritage resources, including several properties protected by municipal bylaw under the Ontario Heritage Act, then accept that mitigation is not possible. MTCS is, in effect, condoning wpd breaking Prince Edward County’s designation bylaws.”

In September 2012, council passed a motion deferring municipal comments on heritage until the municipality received a complete, revised Heritage Report.

“Since then, PEHAC and the heritage community have worked to bring information to Stantec to ensure a proper assessment of potential negative impacts of industrial wind turbines on County heritage.

“Two important events were a 19 October 2012 consultation meeting with Stantec and a two-day field trip in February 2013 to gather data for visualizations, including photographs taken by Stantec’s photographer on which the visualizations would be based.

“Unfortunately, wpd Canada would only agree to 12 visualizations of their choice. Finally, after a year, we can see the results of the consultation process in the revised report. As in the original report, the revised report identifies potential damage to structures from vibrations due to construction and truck traffic, and damage to roadside vegetation.

“However, I would like to draw your attention to one key paragraph in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s (MTCS) comment letter. This is the letter where the government summarizes the report’s conclusions and signs off. The findings are extraordinary and controversial, and I believe they should provoke a strong response from Prince Edward County Council. In summary, the letter states:

• three (3) turbines will cause negative visual impacts on 21 cultural heritage resources, including several protected properties;
• the only way to mitigate is avoidance/removal of the turbines; however,
• it is not possible to mitigate because doing so will affect economic viability of project.

Screenshot-turbines-in-milfordIn specifics, the letter reads, “Other potential project-related impacts related to views were also identified with respect to 21 cultural heritage resources, including: 104 Brewers Road; The Royal Road/Maypul Layn Road Streetscape and associated resources; and Henry House. In order to mitigate any visual impacts, Turbine locations T07, T09, and T11 would have to be avoided. Turbine locations T07, T09, and T11 have been decided based on consideration of availability of land, and natural environment, noise, and property line setbacks, as defined in Ontario Regulation 359/09.

Moving the turbines is not possible, due to these constraints, and avoidance/removal of the turbines will impact the economic viability of the project. Moving Project turbines to other locations in the County is also not possible, due to potential interference with Department of National Defence (DND) radar systems, as identified through consultations with DND.

… “The project began with an established layout of 29 turbines and there has not been a single adjustment for heritage. Using ‘economic viability’ of the project as a reason for not mitigating visual impacts is an excuse for harm after the fact. The government should be holding wpd to account for its responsibility to prevent harm to the County’s heritage – harm that its own consultant has identified.

“If the government will not require the proponent to prevent impacts in this heritage-rich area, then nowhere in Ontario is safe from the damage to heritage by wind energy projects.

How Stantec’s visualizations minimized the impression of impacts:
Visualizatons are a tool for understanding visual impact, but no visualization can convey the real experience. Nevertheless, every visualization should be selected and created to show the impact as realistically as possible.

• Cropping off the top of the photograph so that only the tower shows, with no blades;
• Not showing the full frontal sweep of the blades, just slim silhouette of blades from side;
• Selecting viewpoints where turbine hidden behind a tree or bush (when other viewpoints were available);
• Selecting photographs where the ground and sky are a similar grey/silvery tone because of poor weather conditions, then inserting a turbine without distinguishing light, instead of retaking the photograph with a blue sky;
• Not labelling all or any turbines.

“A video of wpd Canada’s Turbines planned for Historic Prince Edward County, based on visualizations in the White Pines Revised Heritage Report is available at www.southmarysburghmirror.com. The video shows the blades moving, giving a more dynamic experience of their expected effect. The video includes a visualization of Mount Tabor, from Scott’s Mill Road, and how the turbines will negatively impact this Milford landmark and community gathering place. Mount Tabor’s heritage value is defined in the designation by-law as “highly picturesque on its height above the mill pond.”

“It is extraordinary that MTCS has signed off on a Revised Heritage Report that identifies negative visual impacts of 3 turbines on 21 heritage resources, including several Protected Properties, but does not require wpd Canada to mitigate the damage by moving or removing the turbines.

“Council should vigorously object to MTCS + MOE condoning wpd damaging the heritage attributes protected by County bylaws. The municipality should also object to the project’s negative impacts on any other heritage resources that PEHAC identifies after its review of the report.

“As PEHAC, staff and Council work on a response to the Revised Report, Council should know that it has the support of Heritage Canada the National Trust (HCNT) and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, which together have formed a Working Group to monitor the heritage process for both White Pines and the Amherst Island wind project. HCNT, in particular, is concerned about the White Pines process, is watching closely, and will review the report and make a statement.”

The video and screen shot from the video were produced by the Prince Edward County heritage community.

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  1. barney rubble says:

    Susan,
    I share your position specifically : “Opinions other than anti-wind don’t seem to be tolerated or accepted as valid personal OPINIONS.” Well stated
    I have visited Clinton County NY, the wind farms in the US mid West as well and the Canadian farms in Sask. and spoken to others who also believe the air foils dont produce painful noise. One can stare at the blade movements and be spell bound by the activity. Any change in the county way of life is forcefully rejected but over time is assimilated into day to day life.

  2. Susan says:

    David, reaction to my comments again depends on ONE’S attitude. Nothing was said with malice. My intentions were only to show a different perspective.

    I DO see beauty in wind turbines. I’ve travelled all over the States to see wind farms, spent much time near them, and, yes, have always been mesmerized by their gracefulness and clean lines. My personal opinion is that they are awe-inspiring. That’s MY perspective. I fully understand that other people don’t feel the same way. My decisions both to accept their value in our future energy needs and to accept scientific research on their effects definitely colour my view of them.

    The comments posted here by anti-winds have indeed been full of sarcasm and anger. I was merely stating a fact. Opinions other than anti-wind don’t seem to be tolerated or accepted as valid personal OPINIONS. It’s rather sad that tolerance isn’t valued in the discussion.

    I do wish that we could all be respectful in spite of our difference of opinions. We should all be able to live peacefully and enjoy our County.

  3. IM Messenger says:

    Let us not drive Susan or Sam away. I state the facts . . . Ma’m, Sir; one needs to know all the facts to state the facts. One who is ignorant of the facts is just that! Knows only a surface opinion from gazing at the belly button of a subjective self.

    Therein, prompts the opinion of “turbines . . . beautiful”. As others have said it is not the turbines themselves even though there are many patented methods for generating free energy out there that the gov’t has been suppressing for decades. It is the creating and amending of laws in secret that is the point. The failure to acknowledge this by windies begs the question of who stands to profit.

    The one reason the ERT stated in their final findings is the contradiction in law between the EPA vs REA that caused the win. Gov’t “couldn’t have it both ways”. The new-pushed-through laws could not stand the test of law and be fair and just. * shrugs @ the mess of injustice*.

    I suggest to all pro-windies live in a home next to a turbine, camp overnight, sleep in the basement, close the drapes all day trying to block out turbine shadow flicker that’s blipping through the trees and bouncing off every wall in the house, on the grass, on the car in the drive, on your dog’s back as he lays sleeping in a bright sunny day in July, plug your ears to dull the drone. . . on and on . . this not saying anything about the wildlife who just runs away hoping to find another home.

    I’m glad to see “nimby’s” have the courage to express an opinion, though, blinded by the shine of paper gold glaring off of the turbine blades. (A see-through opinion.)

    If landowners, Susan and Sam included, etc. were really for turbines, they would be marching for 1)a different placement where “Do NO Harm” runs through the veins of everyone who wants a green not a “greed” environment or a costly hydro bill. 2) to fight for our Canadian rights under the Environmental Protection Act to clean air, water, environment, etc. to sustain life. Also for ESA for wildlife that supports that life.

    Therefore, follow the money to the porch door is the prime directive here. Look close it shows the intention of any opinion.

  4. barney rubble says:

    Turbines seem to improve the visuals around Mt Tabour but that yellow mess will soon block out any view. Where was the zone officer when that permit was issued. YUK

  5. Marnie says:

    Methinks it is the “Ka-Ching” Ka-Ching” not the I-Ching that has motivated a number of county residents to support wind turbines. This issue is far too big for those of us opposed to them to live in Brigadoon with Susan and her fellow supporters of these monstrous blights on the landscape. Loving one’s neighbour is one thing but loving Susan’s idea of the “art” that stirs her spirit is quite another.

  6. David Norman says:

    Susan;

    First you infer that their is something askew with Marnie’s attitude by stating “Marnie, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I suppose it that comes from your attitude.”

    You then suggest that anti-wind folk are angry and intolerant and subsequently lack understanding, by your selective quotes; “The anti-winds’ ‘revolution’ seems to be full of anger, animosity, sarcasm, rudeness, and bitterness… Anger and intolerance are enemies of correct understanding.”

    To conclude you then offer a plea for “all [to] coexist peacefully and respectfully.” You see nothing disingenuous in this narrative?

    And, this anti-wind revolution against an aristocratic government edict (GEA) which has seen a travesty of “scientific” induction into political and economic, gaming, has indeed ‘gladdened my heart’… and that’s the “absolute truth”.

  7. Susan says:

    Thank you for your support, Sam. The only absolute truth is that it’s essential for everyone’s enjoyment of the County that we all coexist peacefully and respectfully.

  8. IM Messenger says:

    I’M just the “Messenger.”
    Don’t kill the “Messenger”

    Wow, Sam take a pill or smoke some county weed. You’re tramping on Susan’s right to speak for herself.

  9. Lori Cairns says:

    IM Messenger TOTALLY gets what is going on in this world right now and who is pulling the strings.

    Too bad more people aren’t aware and willing to do something about it.

  10. Sam says:

    IM Messenger,

    If you can assume and suggest that Susan is receiving money from the wind industry because she is supportive of the wind projects then can I assume that you are receiving funds from the oil or nuclear industry in return for your position in support of the status quo? Of course I cannot make that assumption and it would be improper for me to make the accusation.

    You attack Susan because you don’t like her opinion. What does that say about you?

    Some people on here are so desperate to keep the conversation completely one-sided that they feel motivated to make unfounded accusations against anyone who does not share your opinions. Is that they type of society that you promote?

    I agree with Susan’s comments. Nothing is decided yet. Both projects are facing regulatory and legal challenges. Whatever the final outcome, we will be faced with the task of coexistence. I am willing to accept and respect your position of opposition to wind energy. Can you accept and respect that some people support wind energy?

  11. IM Messenger says:

    re: host landowners

    We all can spout off the I Ching for our own purposes. It makes no one more superior than anyone else.

    ” . . . With the greed of a hungry tiger
    he [Mr. Lord] is on the lookout for the right people ”
    (i ching 27.1)

    swooped up in the machinations of the Corporations and the $37 million Gilead has secured from EnCore Oil in Alberta. to complete the Ostrander Pt. Project.

    . . . pennies to peanuts follow the money!

  12. IM Messenger says:

    I expect . . . follow the money to Susan’s back door. eer else . . .

  13. Chris Keen says:

    @Susan – You are sadly mistaken if you think the construction of IWTs in the County provides us all with some sort of kumbaya moment. Anger and bitterness at a provincial government that has trampled democratic process, used our tax dollars to fight us at every turn, and allowed two government ministries to abandon their mandates in the name of corporate profits seem like understandable reactions to me.

    Should these monstrosities be constructed we can look forward to twenty plus years of lawsuits over lost property values and the prospect of potentially serious health issues for those unfortunate enough to live anywhere near them not to mention the environmental impact of their construction.

    I strongly suggest that you read Christine Hall’s letter to the MOE to understand why feelings run so high on this issue. http://ccsage.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/pec-resident-pulls-no-punches-in-letter-to-moe-re-amherst-island-36-turbine-wind-project/

  14. Marnie says:

    It is extremely difficult not to be angry and bitter when we see the natural beauty of our county being defiled by those wind turbines. Nothing there to gladden hearts except for the property owners who leased their land for these monstrosities. They are sure to be glad all the way to the bank.

  15. Susan says:

    The I Ching says ‘A revolution should gladden the hearts of the people’. The anti-winds’ ‘revolution’ seems to be full of anger, animosity, sarcasm, rudeness, and bitterness.

    “Anger and intolerance are enemies of correct understanding.” ~ Gandhi

    May we all be peaceful and enjoy life in our County whatever the result.

  16. Marnie says:

    Those turbines will despoil all that is beautiful. If you find beauty in them Susan I hope it is not too late for you to secure one for your front yard.

  17. Lori Cairns says:

    I see those blades rotating as they cut a majestic eagle to pieces.

    I hear a sound like a jet engine that never stops.

    I feel the energy frequency change.

    I smell the natural gas as it fires up on a calmer day when the turbines don’t turn fast enough.

    Heh, a real feast for the senses, eh?

  18. David Norman says:

    By gosh Susan!… I see your artistic vision!… all that’s missing are avatars of the gleeful, playful rosy cheeked children and grandchildren of County Sustainability members in the foreground… an amazing brushstroke of creative ideology!

  19. Susan says:

    Marnie, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I suppose it that comes from your attitude. When I watch the simulation all I see is the dramatic, clean beauty of the turbines with their slow, mesmerizing motion. The image of the modern, dramatic technology against the centuries-old buildings is, to me, breath-taking art.

  20. Chris Keen says:

    @Jim McPherson – As the Liberal government has done with the OPPSEU/NDP staff funded Gilead project where they clearly don’t wish to upset their staff no matter how local residents feel about it.

  21. Marnie says:

    Wind turbines are an abomination.They will not blend subtly with the landscape for an “old and new” look Susan. They will dominate it.

  22. Jim McPherson says:

    It is interesting that this Liberal government is unashamedly taking the position that economic viability for a foreign multinational wind developer trumps environmental and neighbourhood viability for a rural Ontario community.

  23. Susan says:

    The reality of life is that our urban and rural environments are a blend of new and old: new buildings and houses all sizes and styles, cell phone towers, solar arrays, telephone poles and wires, commercial businesses on former farmland, and on and on. Wind turbines on private property are no different.

  24. Gary Mooney says:

    Few (maybe none) of the hosting landowners are working farmers, and some are absentee owners.

    Rumour has it that the landowners are getting $24,000 per turbine per year, for a total of almost half a million dollars over 20 years. That ain’t hay.

  25. IM Messenger says:

    The pic is flawed in reference to the size of the turbines. They are much bigger and vastly monstrous than they appear in the photo. They are almost 40 stories high, very looming over any buildings and ghastly against the skyline.

    Seems the weak link is the willing host. Perhaps a closer look at prodding in this area. However, once turbines are placed on their property they have enough money to leave and live in another place at their leisure. They couldn’t care less about the neighborhood. They only care about the “money”. What would you be thinking if you were a willing host? Be nice to live in Florida where it’s warm and not worry about the costs – they’d be covered. * shrugs *

  26. Sam says:

    The picture of Mount Tabor with the turbines in the background, am I supposed to be more upset by the turbines being added to that view, or the large yellowish house in the foreground?

  27. County Steve says:

    I’m not sure how many people are aware that a planned project in the Kawarthas has been abandoned. It was rejected by the developers, since three of its land-option partners pulled out, apparently due to their own health concerns. The developer deemed the project to be not economically feasible, and cancelled the project.
    Is there any option here for wpd? This wouldn’t work at Ostrander Point, and ‘health concerns’ has proven to be a dead bird to the province in our court attempts.
    But I assume (correct me if I’m wrong) we are not dealing with Crown Land, but willing hosts. Is there a way to reach them to tell them the damage that will be done to this most perfect County location? And to their own health and lifestyle as well.
    Money does indeed do all the talking in this debate.
    I’ve always considered Milford and the South End to be the heartbeat of the County, and I will do almost anything to protect it.

  28. Gary Mooney says:

    Of course the elimination of 3 turbines would affect the economic viability of the project. It would reduce wpd’s return on investment from highly obscene to only moderately obscene.

    Based on research I did about a year ago, Wpd’s German parent company has more than 200 wind projects in operation worldwide, with an average of 7 turbines per project — as few as 1; as many as 33. They are the experts with respect to the viability of small projects.

    White Pines, at 29 turbines, would be its third largest project worldwide, and at 26 turbines, would still be its third largest. If they can’t make a moderately obscene profit with a 26-turbine project, nobody can.

  29. David Norman says:

    Steve, thanks for the reference, however, I had already read through this Stantec document. The comment by the MTCS was lifted directly from this Stantec document, and I quote; “In order to mitigate any visual impacts, Turbine locations T07, T09, and T11 would have to be avoided. Turbine locations T07, T09, and T11 have been decided based on consideration of availability of land, and natural environment, noise, and property line setbacks, as defined in Ontario Regulation 359/09. Moving the turbines is not possible, due to
    these constraints, and avoidance/removal of the turbines will impact the economic viability of the project.” What concerns me is that the MTCS recites this dictum without, I would conjecture, examining the “economic” veracity of this assertion. It would most certainly decrease the amount of public ratepayer monies used to pay the generous subsidies WPD will receive should this project go ahead, but I fail to see how the loss of 3 turbines would jeopardize the economic viability. As I said, show me the accounting (data)!

  30. Steve Ferguson says:

    The comment about economic viability that the MTCS is commenting on is contained in the Executive Summary of Stantec’s October 2013 revised report. The report’s pages aren’t numbered (?) but it’s on page 6 of the pdf.

  31. David Norman says:

    My attention was particularly drawn to the MTCS’s comment “• it is not possible to mitigate because doing so will affect economic viability of project.” I would appreciate a detailed accounting explanation of this “economic” assertion. Perhaps WPD’s Jason Alford might enlighten the PEC community in this respect?

  32. Loretta says:

    How does the MOE or the MTCs have the expertise to determine a project’s economic viability? Haven’t they overstepped their mandates in expressing that opinion as a deciding factor? It is disgusting that these departments whose mandate is to protect, are so willing to destroy heritage, kill, maim and harass endangered species, destroy a unique environment (Alvar) in an internationally designated IBA (important Birding Area). They are supposed to be working for us, the taxpayers, that fund their pay cheques.

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