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Power lines latest wind fight front; Residents mobilize against proposed escarpment route  

Credit:  Mike Zettel, staff, www.niagarathisweek.com 15 December 2011 ~~

Call it the next front in the fight against the major wind turbine project in West Lincoln.
A group of residents in Lincoln – among them winery owners – are gearing up to protest the proposed route for transmission lines that would carry power to the grid.
Beamsville resident John Bald and Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery owner Harald Thiel recently held a meeting with neighbours to begin planning a strategy to protest the location of the transmission line. Though the route has yet to be chosen, one option to carry the power from the turbines to the grid along the QEW would see high-capacity lines erected down the Niagara Escarpment on Mountainview Road. Other options include 30 Road or Park Road.
Bald said the lines and required taller wooden poles, which would replace smaller existing municipal structures, would be entirely unsuitable for the area. He said there are worries the power lines would lower property values and end up being an eyesore in what is a major tourist draw in Niagara’s wine country.
“That’s going to turn off the tourists,” Bald said. “The wineries are dead set against it.”
Bald said he’s aware the transmission lines routes are far from being set in stone, and that the project itself still has a long way to be go before it’s approved. There is still an active group fighting the turbine project, a group Bald said he supports.
If the anti-turbine group is successful, this latest fight will be unnecessary.
“Obviously, if they win, we win,” he said, explaining they just want to make sure they’re ready. “If they get the wind generation, we’re definitely going to fight on the power line issue.”
“We’re trying to get in the fight early to stop these lines from destroying the landscape.”
When the group met on Oct. 21, residents discussed the proposal and talked about what its impact would be. They settled on a plan of action, deciding who they would need to contact to influence the approval and planning process.
Randi Rahamim, spokesperson for Niagara Region Wind Corp., which wants to build the turbines, reiterated the final route has not been selected, though noted Mountainview is one of the preferred routes.
She said other information hasn’t been made available because the transmission project hasn’t yet been designed. She explained the plan is to use existing hydro lines and easements and to replace the current poles with new wooden poles.
“It’s really early in the process,” she said.
She said the potential routes will be presented at an open house in the new year.
“At that time, people will have a better idea of what the options are,” she said.

Source:  Mike Zettel, staff, www.niagarathisweek.com 15 December 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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