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Non-participant landowners deserve answers from wind company  

Credit:  The Manitoulin Expositor, www.manitoulin.ca 15 December 2010 ~~

The McLean’s Mountain wind turbine project headed off by Northland Power has been signing 20-year lease agreements plus extensions with private landowners since 2004. Leases have automatic renewals unless notified to terminate by the leaseholder on a set date. All options on this land are held by the wind company.

Similar to other investors or speculators, who purchased land for more turbines, Northland Power or its representatives appear to have been trying to acquire land in and around the Perch Lake area. There may be plans that would allow more turbines to be installed next to existing or other non-participants.

As a landowner in this area, this is of great concern due to the fact that this area of proposed wind turbines, the footings of which can exceed 16 feet of depth, are in contact with headwaters of Perch Lake that can be impacted if the property is leased or sold. As private adjacent landowners that do not stand to gain, they would, in fact, lose much more than anticipated.

We need to be concerned that process hazard reviews (PHRs) and risk assessments were not followed through on a one-to-one basis that would directly involve non-participant owners of land. Trappers of this area and Indigenous people who know this land should be consulted and involved in the process. All concerns should be addressed and worked with to a common goal.

If these processes were followed, it was only on land with which Northland has agreements in place, which troubles me as an owner. Although notification of this project was mailed to all landowners (I think) in this area by Northland, this information lacked in assurance on environmental impacts, including human health and insurance, to all landowners that do not wish to have an industrial project impact their land as below.

1. Redirecting headwaters to Perch lake (flooding land and starving an already shallow lake).

2. Time-limiting values and time-waited averages from frequency, decibel readings versus temperature and distance threshold values that impact hearing on wildlife to human life.

3. Mechanical failure, i.e. propeller fan blade breaking off and injuring someone on neighbouring property.

4. Electrical bonding of turbines in case of lightning strikes causing a forest fire.

5. Project being developed in birthing area for wildlife, impacting future species in wetlands.

I urge everyone in this area to take notice that this is a serious concern because implications of this project affects landowners. Liability, including health effects, can be brought forward on the right people to safeguard your land against what few stand to gain from this project.

A lawyer has also suggested that anyone that agrees to have a turbine on their property should make sure the binding agreement with the developer states the developer will be solely responsible for any legal costs in the event of a lawsuit from a neighbouring property owner.

If this is not legally included, the property owner may be held responsible for possible damages caused by the turbine.

Remember, as we go forward with green ideas we need to move with our neighbours, our community, and most of all the environment we impact. I believe Northland Power has fallen short of providing the necessary answers to go forward with a project of this magnitude.

J. Rivet

Green Bush Road

Source:  The Manitoulin Expositor, www.manitoulin.ca 15 December 2010

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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