Whether or not Horizon Wind Inc. has submitted an application to build their proposed turbine farm in Thunder Bay is irrelevant, said an area MPP.
On Monday, tbnewswatch.com obtained a letter from MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) to Environment Minister Jim Bradley and Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle asking them not to give Horizon the required permit to build the turbines slated for the Nor’Wester Mountain range.
He states in that letter that he had been advised Horizon had submitted another application to the ministry of the environment and he hoped the government would move quickly to deny the application.
Despite Mauro’s objections, a spokesperson for Horizon Wind said they have not re-submitted an application to the province.
“Whether they had or they haven’t is almost fair to say irrelevant at this point,” said Mauro on Tuesday morning.
“The point of my letter was simply to make sure two new ministers were aware of the situation, that they were aware of the letter from the former minister of natural resources, that they were aware formally of my opposition and to bring to their attention the seriousness of the issue here in Thunder Bay-Atikokan.”
In August, then-environment minister Linda Jeffrey stated in a letter she was unlikely to approve the wind farm project because of concerns with the Endangered Species Act, specifically relating to the native peregrine falcon population in the area.
Mauro said when he wrote the letter, he was not 100 per cent sure Horizon had submitted another application to the province. The purpose of the letter was to flag the issue for the two new ministers.
“Any time there is a change in ministers, it is important for me, as a member representing people in your riding, to ensure that those new ministers are aware of the issue,” he said.
Gravelle verified there hasn’t been an application submitted by the company and said he maintains his position of being against the location of the wind farm.
Neebing Coun. Linda Rydholm said it would have been nice if Mauro had been opposed to the project from the onset, but it’s better late than never.
“Hopefully there is a realization by the provincial government that each site for proposed wind farms is quite different and the Nor’Wester mountain range, especially close to the city where the peregrine falcons are, where the ski hill is, close to Fort William First Nation’s traditional hunting, close to where city residents live is just an inappropriate place,” she said.
Mayor Keith Hobbs was pleased with Mauro’s efforts to inform the new ministers and said he’s hoping the MPP’s words are heard.
“I know other councillors voted for that location,” Hobbs said. “I haven’t changed my stand on it. I think it’s just the wrong location.”
“I’m hoping the government comes through for us,” he added.