The list of issues for appealing the 110-turbine Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project will be put forward in the coming weeks, after last week’s Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) pre-hearing.
A crowd sat in on the three-hour meeting at the Municipality of Kincardine municipal building Jan. 25, to determine which groups would be representing the appellants, how the issues will be brought forward during the appeal and how information will be shared between appellants and the proponent.
The hearing has been scheduled for a maximum of eight weeks starting April 23.
Kincardine’s chief administrative officer, John deRosenroll said the entire appeal is expected to be five to six weeks, but the time frame was extended if extra time is needed.
“(Eight weeks) was booked to give everyone time to have their say in the matter,” said deRosenroll. “It just takes so long.”
He said the original 42 appeals against the Enbridge project have since been narrowed down and united into four different groups.
“Many of them share common issues and concerns, so they’ve banded together,” he said.
deRosenroll said OMB chair Steven Stefanko wanted the groups to understand how the appeal process worked and to determine who would be fully involved in the process.
Enbridge general manager Bob Simpson said the company’s interests will be represented by Jane Pepino of Aird and Berlis LLP.
Simpson said the pre-hearing went well and clearly identified the appeal procedure and how the parties will go forward with their arguments and witnesses.
“It’s very much like a court,” said Simpson.
He said OMB chair Steven Stefanko requires a list of the issues to be discussed by both parties by Feb. 6.
The list will be short, brief and cover issues like noise, safety and bird migratory routes, which have plagued wind farm projects since the public was made aware they were coming to the area.
Bruce Twp. resident Kathy McCarrel is one part of a 25-member group of property owners appealing the Municipality of Kincardine’s zoning bylaw decision, along with three other parties fighting the decision with their own voices.
Represented by Peggy Hutchinson, a certified moderator, McCarrel said they’re still waiting on Enbridge to finalize the turbine positioning in order to form many of their arguments and match appeals to specific sites.
“The lack of information has complicated the issues,” she said. “If we know where the turbines are going, some of these issues may be resolved… or not.”
She said two appeals were dismissed near North Bruce, as the turbines would interfere with a Bell Mobility 9-1-1 transmission corridor.
McCarrel said these appellants wouldn’t have had to appeal the decision in the first place, if Enbridge would have looked into the issue initially. She also wondered what other similar issues could surface before the appeal goes to order.
She said the April 23 date is sooner than expected to work with the information available, especially with the sites that have yet to be determined by Enbridge. But she said the scramble will all be worth it when the appeal is through.
“It will nice to get things resolved one way or another,” said McCarrel. “It will be an unbiased forum to judge the decisions of council.”
Simpson said they’ve committed to having the majority of the drawings available for the group’s Feb. 6, 7 and 8 meetings, with the remainder of the site maps coming a week or more after that time.
“We’ll be providing a map from the planner and site layout,” he said. “It’s priority for us to get those drawings together.”
By Troy Patterson
Kincardine News Staff
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