November 21, 2007

Wasauksing wind farm makes progress

Wasauksing First Nation is taking the next step towards creating a wind farm on Parry Island.

Wasauksing, in partnership with the Toronto-based SkyPower Corporation, proposes to build a four to six turbine wind farm at the northeast end of the island that would generate 10 megawatts of power. Consultants Golder Associates Ltd. started the environmental assessment process November 15, which looks at the impact of the wind farm on the environment and community.

Band councillor Shane Tabobandung said wind power on the island was still being tested at different locations and a wind farm wouldn’t be developed until about 2010.

“Through that time period there’s going to be all the legwork to get to the ground-breaking,” he said.

Mr. Tabobandung said the exact location of the proposed wind farm, including its proximity to the shoreline, hasn’t been determined.

“It’s still up to the community,” he said.

Rebecca Black, of SkyPower Corporation, said several members of the public had already called about the environmental assessment last Thursday and that a report would be made public once the assessment is complete.

No public meetings have yet been scheduled.

Last summer a test tower on the south end of the island raised the ire of at least one cottager across the bay upset about the impact on the view and environment.

The Georgian Bay Association, an umbrella group for 20 cottage associations on Georgian Bay, released its Renewable Energy Report in February. In the report the GBA recommends, in part, that the provincial environmental assessment include the visual impact of the towers on nearby properties similar to impact studies done in Bruce County and New Zealand. Bill Bialkowski, chair of the GBA study group and a West Carling Cottager Association member, said the association hasn’t been successful in having the visual impact included in the environmental assessment by the province.

“It’s a question of visibility, even as far away as Sandy Island, Martyr Islands –they’re only a couple kilometres away,” said Mr. Bialkowski.

To comment on the project, contact Golder Association Ltd. project manager Kevin Trimble at 905-567-4444, or SkyPower Corporation’s Rebecca Black at 416-979-4625.

By Sarah Bissonette

21 November 2007

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