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Mixed messages from Hydro One on cutting down trees for transmission line

Ostrander Point transmission line options

We own a home on Walmsley Road, Milford, Prince Edward County. On June 17th  our neighbours and ourselves received phone calls from Hydro One requesting our permission to cut down the trees at the front of our property for “some work we are doing down here on Walmsley and Royal Rd”  for a proposed new transmission line. The messages were mixed – one owner was told it was a done deal, another was told it was a survey, another owner was apparently offered compensation for their trees and told that they couldn’t object but the lines could be buried. We were not initially told this survey was being conducted for the Gilead/Ostranders transmission line.

This route is proposed to travel further west than Gilead originally planned and then come up through an unopened right of way that divides South Marysburgh and Athol townships and then head back east again along Walmsley Road ending up at the Picton Transformer Station by the airport.

Just to restate our position: we object to this route and the damage it would cause to our property, however many options are considered.
We also object just as strongly to coming up the unopened right of way with so many pristine, beautiful acres of  trees, wetlands (Black Creek watershed) and farmland being bulldozed for a transmission
line for nine wind turbines.

This unopened right of way is in the White Pines/wpd project area and as part of the South Shore has many species at risk including the Blandings Turtle. It is also important to note that this is not a small area.

If the line ran from Army Reserve Road all the way to Walmsley Road it would be approx. 25 acres that would be clear cut and bulldozed for just this section of the transmission line and new access road.

It seems inconceivable that for whatever reason – with no regard to cost or damage – a transmission line and road  would  be constructed to go 10 kms out of its way, clear cutting hundreds of trees, through the Black River watershed, tearing up acres of farmed land, destroying who knows what habitats and then following along existing roads Walmsley and Bond, cutting  several century old trees as it goes and tearing down perfectly good existing transmission lines to put up new ones.

Walmsley Road has been identified as a “Cultural Heritage Landscape” by Stantec Consulting for the White Pines wind project.  They identified the trees as a “cultural heritage asset” to be protected from
negative development impacts. And Prince Edward County Heritage Advisory Committee referred to the trees as part of the roads’ unique character.

The contribution that trees make to the environment is well established. We’re still waiting to see the compelling evidence of the contribution wind turbines make.

This route was suggested as an alternative several years ago. We spoke to a representative at a Gilead public meeting in 2010 who said they had walked the unopened right of way and were up to their waists in water and there was little chance a transmission line could be constructed there.

As well, wpd has already received permission from the OEB to construct their transmission line using a different north/south route than this one. Is each wind project that receives an approval going to have their own route for whatever reason?

Will there be a an environmental assessment?

We would like to register and have passed on to Gilead our unequivocal disapproval of this route and its unnecessary damage to existing roads and untouched natural areas.

Patti and David Duthie

Map from Stantec’s March 2013 draft White Pines Interconnection Line Effects Assessment

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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