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Broten confirms approval of wind farm ESR

Environment minister Laurel Broten has reviewed the earlier decision of her ministry’s approval branch with respect to the Melancthon II wind project, and supports the director’s approval of the Environmental Screening Report.

The decision means that individual environmental assessments would not be required for the proposed 88 turbines in Amaranth and Melancthon Townships.

In the meantime, the proposal remains before the Ontario Municipal Board, and the minister has attached conditions to her approval.

In particular, Ms. Broten notes that Canadian Hydro Developers has made certain commitments “with respect to mitigation and protective measures to address environmental impacts. The ESP specifies that such commitments must form part of the project and are expected to be implemented accordingly.”

Ms. Broten said she expects that CHD would “discuss the application for Certificate of Approval for noise and proposed noise mitigation measures with neighbours (of the transformer).”

Two neighbours, Paul Thompson and Theresa Brownell, are regularly in attendance at township council meetings. Both are seeking party status for the OMB hearing scheduled for September. Mr. Thompson has been the more vocal of the two in his criticism of noise levels at the transformer substation, but Ms. Brownell most recently submitted articles on noise to the council.

As the OMB pre-hearings were winding down last month, the hearing officer’s decision on party status was deferred as Mr. Thompson’s position is directly related to site-plan approval for a second transformer, and the issue had not yet come before the Board. (Notices had been sent, but had not come to the attention of the hearing officer. As of Tuesday, the status had not been posted to the OMB’s website.)

In an appearance at township council earlier this year, Mr. Thompson said the greatest noise problem occurs when the turbines come back online after they have been idle. But he said he finds the constant noise of the existing transformer intolerable – even after CHD erected a sound barrier.

In one of his letters to CHD project manager Geoff Carnegie, Mr. Thompson indicated he would be seeking compensation.

Orangeville Citizen

31 May 2007