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Turbine plan OK’d  

Credit:  Brandon Walker, The Chronicle Journal, www.chroniclejournal.com 12 April 2011 ~~

Thunder Bay city council has ratified a deal with Horizon Wind that should settle a $126-million lawsuit.
But while the changes to the project were approved, protesters still did their best to state their case.
Councillors were asked to meet with the owner of the Loch Lomond Ski Area to discuss changes to the wind farm project before settling the lawsuit.
During a deputation to councillors, Karen Drake, a representative for Loch Lomond owner Ward Bond, said the city must consult directly with him about the changes introduced in the proposed settlement.
Drake said the height of the turbines and the effect that snow-making machines could have on them are among the reasons the city should not approve the wind project until meeting with Bond.
“The new version of the project will significantly effect the view sheds from the skier’s perspective,” Drake said.
“Loch Lomond is a busy, high-use public area, and we need to know what the view sheds will look like. Turbines 8 and 9 will be only 680 metres from (ski run) Chicken Run,” she said.
Two Federation Internationale de Ski-sanctioned races are held annually at Loch Lomond, Drake said, each drawing 100 racers plus family and coaches. She said the wind farm could threaten the events.
“It’s accredited as long as there are no natural or artificial changes, such as buildings or other construction in that area. If these races are cancelled it will cause a loss of revenue at Thunder Bay’s hotels and restaurants,” Drake said.
She said Loch Lomond has tried to get answers from Horizon.
“We’ve sent four (emails) with detailed questions and concerns and received one email response that didn’t address our concerns. They said it will all be addressed as they go forward,” Drake said.
Speaking on behalf of two South Neebing homeowners, John Beals said the city hasn’t followed its policies.
“In dealing with a certain wind farm developer, your policies have not been followed. We consider it an insult,” Beals said.
Development services manager Mark Smith said the policies are being followed.
“We are doing nothing that is contrary to the Municipal Act or policies and procedures,” Smith said.
Discussion turned to the Ministry of the Environment asking Horizon to provide more information regarding its renewable energy approval.
City manager Tim Commisso reminded councillors that they shouldn’t make a decision about the Horizon agreement using factors that will be weighed by the Ministry of the Environment.
“When we start mixing the decision processes, we put the city at risk of making decisions they have no business (talking about),” Commisso said.
“If we’re discussing health concerns, those issues are inherently tied to that and it’s not within council’s authority. That is something that gets us into legal discussions,” he said.
More than 100 people were at city hall before the council meeting to express their concerns about the project. Many sat in the gallery. Others watched the discussion on television in the city hall foyer.
The opponents did get an ally back. Mayor Keith Hobbs left a conference in London, Ont., Monday to attend the meeting.
Hobbs was critical of every aspect of the city-Horizon deal and made some comments that upset some councillors, particularly McIntyre representative Trevor Giertuga, who let the forum know that he, like his peers, was working hard for Thunder Bay, as well as his own ward.
Councillors went in camera for nearly an hour to phone city solicitor Rosalie Evans, who was out of the city, so she could answer their questions.

Source:  Brandon Walker, The Chronicle Journal, www.chroniclejournal.com 12 April 2011

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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