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Turbine foundations could be time capsules  

I had a lot of faith in the responsibility of Enbridge and its wind power project up until council this past week.

The project is coming, regardless of the OMB hearing that recently concluded over half the project. But what I’m disgusted about is the decommissioning plan laid out by the company and approved by council.

It requires the company only to remove a portion of the 40-tonnes of rebar and about 420-cubic metres of concrete at the turbine bases, once they’re decommissioned. The wording brings the foundation down to about 1.5 metres below the surface, leaving much of the flying saucer-shaped foundation.

My understanding, echoing that of Bruce Twp. councillor Randy Roppel’s, was that if they’re going to put it in the ground, they can tear it all up and remove it when they’re done.

Their excuse is that doing that could create sunken areas… well they can be filled in just as easily I would say!

If this is going to be the case, we should petition Enbridge to create a ‘Time Capsule’ initiative, so during the construction, each turbine could be buried with a capsule containing, writings, collectibles and many items and gizmos that represent our time.

That way, in 500 years or however long it takes, when the urban areas swallow the agricultural areas like they’re doing in Toronto… our decendents will have a glimpse of how ridiculously or intelligently we lived.

It’s a realistic concept, because if new technology is invented in the near-future, which demonstrates the inefficiencies of our current methods of electricity production, these turbines may only be around for a generation or so. Their design life is for 20 years, so either the technology will get better and they will stay, or they’ll go extinct.

The reason I’m bitter is because the initial impression was that the foundations would be removed, but now that the first six have been approved, I know that won’t be the case, unless specific requests are made by property owners. But by leaving it in their hands, many could be long gone by the time they’re ready to come down, so the record will remain in the municipality’s and Enbridge’s hands.

Leave it long enough and it will be the municipality or property owners footing the bill to have these things removed.

A time capsule is at least one idea to leave the foundations in the ground. Better than leaving a mass of concrete and metal that could be considered an ‘architectural wonder’ to some future archaeologist.

I feel as though the ‘transparency’ in the public’s dealings with Enbridge became a little more opaque with what I heard on June 13. Constantly we have to remind ourselves that public relations folks represent only one side of the equation. Their primary role is to look out for what’s best for the company, while working to compromise with the public.

It’s time again to put up our guard and dig a little deeper. Kudos to the appellants’ efforts.

By Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Editor of the Kincardine News.

The Kincardine News

20 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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