WAINFLEET – Township council has blown off a request by Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. and IPC Energy to use an unopened portion of Side Road 22 in the township.
IPC Energy, working on behalf of Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc., sought the unopened road allowance to give it access to one of its proposed wind turbine sites. The stretch of Side Road 22 (also known as Brawn Rd.) would have been from Abbey Rd. south to Concession 1.
A report put forward by township staff outlined four options, including opening the road after IPC Energy carried out upgrades at its expense, selling the road allowance, leasing the road allowance, and denying the request. Staff had recommended leasing the road, with the company bringing it up to township standards.
After some discussion about road standards and who would be responsible for it at the end of the construction phase, councillors voted unanimously to turn down the report, leaving the company with no access through the unopened road allowance.
IPC Energy’s president John Andrews and Tom Lewis, manager of planning and environment, were in council chambers during the discussion about the report and left immediately after the vote.
The two men had appeared before council earlier in the evening to give an update on the Wainfleet wind energy project.
“We’re not here by invitation … or by government requirement, we’re here in an effort to fully co-operate with the township and community,” said Lewis.
He said Wainfleet Wind Energy, started by the Loeffen brothers – John, Harold and the late Bill – was started in 2009 and as of January this year took on a new partner, Tom Rankin, CEO of Rankin Construction and Rankin Renewable Power and a Wainfleet property owner. At one time, Rankin proposed building his own wind turbines in the township, but the project was put on hold when the Green Energy Act came into effect.
Councillors Tuesday night heard the Wainfleet project will see five 1.8-megawatt turbines installed in the Abbey and Station Rds. area. The turbines would generate 26 million kilowatts a year, enough to power 2,500 homes and reduce greenhouse gases by 14,000 tonnes.
If the project meets all provincial requirements and is approved, Lewis said construction could get underway in the first quarter of 2013, with the turbines operational by the third quarter of that year.
He said the switching station for the turbines was moved slightly due to Hydro One requirements and that an archeological assessment was carried out on the new location.
“We’re going to have a final public open house, but the date has yet to be determined, and after that people have 60 days to review the draft package of the proposal.”
The draft package will be available on the project website – www.wainfleetwindenergy.ca – and at Wainfleet library for viewing.
In response to questions from council, Lewis and Andrews said just under 0.8 hectares of land is needed for the turbines, but once built, farmers would be able to work the fields almost to the base of each tower. All of the utilities associated with the project would be buried. Andrews also said not all turbines are put on prime agricultural lands; there have been projects built in the middle of forests.
Andrews told councillors that people opposed to the project must take up their complaints with the provincial government, as it has the final say through the Green Energy Act.
“We are doing everything within their policies and are meeting or exceeding standards. We are here tonight in a manner of co-operation, openness and transparency. We didn’t have to do this, but quite frankly, we wanted to … we wanted to show we’re not hiding anything,” Andrews said.
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