What was supposed to be a public meeting about the proposed Bluewater Wind Project, was anything but.
Residents of Huron-Kinloss showed up at the Ripley-Huron Community Centre meeting room last night (Aug. 10) only to discover that there was no presentation or venue for asking questions, just a casual open-house atmosphere.
About 250 people were jammed into the small meeting room, trying to get answers about the serious implications of wind turbines along Highway 21, but they were directed to specialists who could respond only to specific questions about noise levels, distance separations and birds, not the project as a whole.
Derek Dudek, Renewable Energy Application (REA) co-ordinator, was on the hook to answer most of the questions and was surrounded by angry residents, opposing the entire project.
“This isn’t a public meeting,” said Kathryn Vine-Smith of Guelph who has a home on Huron Road in Point Clark. She travelled two hours specifically to attend the public meeting only to find it was nothing more than an information session.
“This type of information, we could get off teh website,” she said. “I was looking for more detailed information on maps.”
The wind farm, proposed by International Power Inc., would see 50 2.5-megawatt turbines installed on about 3,387 hectares of land, bounded by the 2nd of Huron Township, Lake Range Drive, the 8th of Huron and Sideroad 5. The project would be connected by overhead transmission lines, heading north on Sideroad 20 through the Municpiality of Kincardine, before turning west on either the 8th or 6th concession where they would connect to the existing transmission lines near Bruce Power.
According to the large boards surrounding the meeting room, the purpose of this meeting was to provide information and details about the Bluewater Wind Project and the REA process. It was to offer information related to the construction and operation of the wind farm, and answer questions and concerns from residents.
Construction would take about a year to complete, and the wind farm would operate for 20 years, as per a contract.
The crowd did not seem too receptive to the proposal. At one point, a resident shouted, “Who is against windmills?” To which there was a loud shout of “aye.”
This was followed by a shout of “Who wants a proper meeting?” And again the answer was “aye.”
A second meeting is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 11) at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine, 5:30-8 p.m.
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