Kingsville council has reaffirmed its opposition to offshore wind turbines.
“We don’t think it’s a good idea putting it right offshore or right at the shoreline,” Coun. Gord Queen said Tuesday, after council passed his motion the previous evening.
The Ministry of Natural Resources ended a moratorium on offshore wind power projects earlier this month.
When Queen originally put forward his motion opposing offshore wind turbines, he didn’t know the moratorium had been lifted. But he said the motion “sets the tone as far as the town of Kingsville is concerned.”
He had concerns about the impact wind turbines would have on the commercial fishing industry, the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary and the way the lakefront’s appearance would change. He’s worried about the impact on tourism.
After Kingsville and Leamington councils, and many of their residents, raised objections to a proposal for wind turbines in Lake Erie in late 2006, the province said all offshore proposals for wind projects were being deferred.
A Jan. 17 Ministry of Natural Resources news release says the province “has lifted the deferral on existing proposals for offshore wind power projects and will be accepting new onshore and offshore applications.”
The news release said in the last year the province has been analyzing lakes Erie, Huron and Ontario, developing wind power guidance documents for birds and bats and has partnered with Birds Studies Canada, the Canadian Wind Energy Association and Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service to set up a common database for monitoring the impact of wind turbines on birds and bats.
A spokesman for the MNR did not return calls to The Star with more information on the lifting of the moratorium.
Kingsville council unanimously approved a resolution against wind turbines up to three kilometres off the shore, Queen said. The resolution also says council is opposed to wind turbines on land within three kilometres of the shoreline.
The resolution will be sent to MPP Bruce Crozier (L – Essex) and the ministers of Energy and Natural Resources.
Crozier did not respond to a request for an interview Tuesday afternoon.
Jim Liovas, the Liovas Construction owner who has a proposal to build a 30-megawatt, 15-turbine project in Lake Erie off Kingsville and Leamington, said he’s pleased the province ended the moratorium.
He said his Southpoint Wind Power proposal will be modified in the next couple of months and will go through an environmental assessment. He couldn’t say if the proposal would be changed to put the 15 turbines further out in Lake Erie. The current proposal is for 90-metre high turbines set one to 1.5 kilometres offshore.
Liovas said he doesn’t have a response to Kingsville council’s opposition. The lakebed is owned by the province, not Kingsville.
He said Southpoint is going through past letters of opposition and is trying to address concerns in its new proposal.
“We’re working to try to come to a happy medium.”
By Sharon Hill
29 January 2008
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