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WAINFLEET – Supporters of Skydive Burnaby have started to send letters to local and provincial politicians over two proposed wind turbines in close proximity to the business’s Burnaby Rd. field.
Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. plans to install a number of wind turbines, as part of a wind farm, in the township, with two being located on the east side of Station Rd. The company is locally-owned by the Loeffen family and the wind farm is being developed by IPC Energy.
The two turbines on Station Rd. are to be 1.7 km (not 3.5 km as previously reported) west of the field in a straight line. Skydive Burnaby owners Mike and Tara Pitt said jumpers could end up right over the towers some days.
The Pitt’s said there are times when skydivers jump up to 5 km west of the field due to wind conditions. Their flight path back to the club would take them near or over the two proposed wind turbines.
“The installation of the turbines will not only affect Skydive Burnaby, but local businesses that depend on serving the skydiver community, people who visit Skydive Burnaby,” said skydiver Matvei Fradin in one letter to both Wainfleet township council and the office of MPP Peter Kormos, obtained by The Tribune.
“It will affect all infrastructure that was built around Skydive Burnaby for the last 55 years, it will affect Canadian skydiving, its history and heritage, it will affect you and me, it will affect Canada.”
Skydiver Laszlo Polyak wrote, “While I am a very strong supporter of renewable energy, as with most changes, there has to be a well thought out balance between the existing use of the lands and airspace and what is being proposed. I am not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that these towers should not be installed. What I am saying is that they need to be moved to a location that would not impact our safety and safe enjoyment of a sport that has been at this location for over 50 years.”
Polyak also said, “Some weekends there are bus loads of people coming from corporations to experience the thrill of skydiving for the first time. Mike and Tara Pitt have done an exceptional job of balancing the business with the feel of a family environment.”
IPC Energy has said it is taking the club’s concerns seriously and is trying to address them as best it can.
It, too, has sent letters to provincial politicians.
In an e-mail sent to Kormos’ office, IPC said, “Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. has no intention of constructing a wind energy facility that will negatively impact the surrounding community or cause established local businesses such as Skydive Burnaby to shut down operations.”
It also said the “project team has attempted to be conscientious of Skydive Burnaby’s location in the design of the proposed turbine locations.”
“Earlier versions of the turbine layout included a higher number of the project’s five turbines being located closer to Skydive Burnaby.”
IPC also said to address Skydive Burnaby’s concerns regarding the safety of jumpers, it has engaged in consultation with Transport Canada to ensure the project meets its regulatory and safety requirements.
Though the company plans to hold a public meeting in the new year, the Pitts will be a delegation at township council’s Tuesday, Jan. 11, meeting and will ask for a moratorium on wind turbine development in Wainfleet.
The Pitts said there is also a public information session planned for Saturday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. at Brethren-in Christ Church, 10641 Hwy. 3.
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