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Wind turbine decommissioning funds for roads and trees before council

UPDATE: Councillors John Hirsch and Sam Branderhorst noted they would like the municipality to find a way to fix Maypul Lane, also destroyed, but not included in the wpd funds for road damage. Funding was paid to cover damage to roads where components and gravel and other materials were hauled. Maypul Lane was destroyed during work to prepare transmission lines.

“Residents have been suffering the mud road for the last several years,” noted Hirsch.

It is estimated Maypul needs about $50,000 worth of work with gravel along 2.3kms. Changes would need to be made to plans already in place for the 2023 roads projects.

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Funds for trees damaged or removed during the White Pines Wind Energy Project (WPD) are to go to this year’s budget for municipal tree planting, and funds from the turbine decommission settlement for road damage are to be put into 2024 roads work.

These are the recommendations of County staff to be presented to council at its meeting Tuesday night.

Two turbine sections being delivered to a site off Royal Road in this file photo.

Staff seek approval to include the rehabilitation of Royal Road (Lighthall to County Road 10); Bond Road (County Road 10 to west end civic 416) and Kaiser Road (County Road 8 to County Road 7) in the 2024 rural roads generic work plan, funded from the $892,633.27 plus HST to be received for road damage from the WPD decommissioning settlement.

As road work has already been planned and tendered for this year, municipal staff are to monitor and continue patching these roads until next year.

Using the $11,000 plus HST from the settlement, trees are to be planted in the fall on municipal property in South Marysburgh ward as replacements for those damaged or removed during the WPD project.

The German wind company’s initial plan was for 29 industrial turbines and connecting transmission lines in Athol and South Marysburgh, but following years of legal battles focused on protection of species at risk and heritage preservation, the project was reduced to nine – all north of Royal Road.

Four tower sections assembled with the nacelle on top. Two of three turbine blades in place with wires to the ground to hold the blades still.

The company continued its work and had erected four of the 100-metre tall turbines, but they were not put into service before the provincial government terminated the project under The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act in July 2018. A year later the government passed a regulation that entitled wpd compensation for “eligible costs” but that amount is still to be determined.

The White Pines Wind Farm website notes decommission of the project continues this month with the environmental monitoring period.

After work associated with decommissioning occurred, a post-road assessment was completed by a third-party engineering consultant (mutually agreed upon by WPD and the municipality).

The engineer’s assessment calculated a final damage settlement totaling $903,633.27 plus HST. This payment
includes roadways (surface and base) as well as all related damages in the road allowance (signage, ditches, trees, roadside safety devices, etc.)

The report to council states WPD submitted the funds for the damage settlement from the engineer’s assessment in March 2023.

Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m.

On Monday, April 4, 2016 White Pines Wind Inc (wpd) began clearing trees at sites for the 27-turbine project on the south shore of Prince Edward County. A motion to stay construction was granted, in part. The Environmental Review Tribunal ordered that vegetation clearing and site preparation activities associated with the project in areas identified as Blanding’s turtle spring foraging habitat in the Stantec Species at Risk Report of 2012 are stayed pending the resolution of appeals. – APPEC (Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County) photo

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