CLARINGTON – Port Granby residents could be getting four 150-metre wind turbines in their neighbourhood.
The first details of the proposed wind farm were released at a public meeting Feb. 22 by the developer, Leader Resources Services Corp.
“It’s really, really scary,” said resident Dorothy Imlach. “You hear so many things about health effects. That’s where your concerns are.”
The developer is proposing three wind turbines on Lancaster Road, south of the railway tracks and one on Elliott Road, just north of the tracks. The Leader wind farm will be a 10-megawatt project. The turbines will produce enough energy to power 2,500 homes a year.
The public meeting was held to share initial information on the project and hear people’s concerns, said Jodi Jerome, a spokeswoman for Leader.
“The first question people want to know is where the turbines are going … so we’re not a fuzzy, scary thing,” said Ms. Jerome.
Leader is promoting green energy as a way to ensure a sustainable income for farmers leasing their land to host a turbine.
“We still believe wind projects are good for the farm, good for the people and good for the planet,” said Charles Edey, president of Leader.
At the public meeting, the developer highlighted a new Massachusetts study that found no causal link between wind turbines and health, and studies that found no evidence that rural residential properties had lower sale prices.
“The anti-wind opposition that’s grown in Ontario … it makes sure you’re coming with your best project. You have to go through an awful lot of scrutiny to get one of these things built. That wasn’t the case years ago,” said Ms. Jerome.
Port Granby residents also raised concerns about noise and the impact on birds that fly through the area.
“I have thousands (of geese) because of the lake. They land because they can find corn and soy beans on the ground,” said Ms. Imlach.
Ms. Jerome said on average a wind turbine in Ontario kills two birds a year. Leader said the wind project will comply with Ministry of the Environment noise regulations and a noise assessment study is being done on the project.
Two proposals for wind farms
There are two wind farms proposed for rural Clarington – one by Clarington Wind Farm Leader Energy and the other by Energy Farming called ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska. Both projects are in the early stages. ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska is studying the area from Mosport Park to Kendalwood Park to see if it’s suitable for a wind farm.
The Ontario Green Energy Act, designed to spark renewable energy projects, has largely taken control of these projects away from municipalities. The Province oversees safety regulations and approves new green energy directly.
The turbines must be set back 550 metres from neighbours and 120 metres from natural features, such as the woods that cover part of Port Granby area. The setbacks can be reduced to as little as 30 metres if there is an environmental impact study supporting the move. Leader is working on environmental impact studies that could reduce the setback for several of the Port Granby wind turbines.
Leader is expecting to finish the environmental and technical studies this spring. The studies will then be released for public review before a second public open house is held this spring. The final layout design will be done in the fall and the plans will be submitted to the Province. A decision is expected in the early months of 2013.
“The earliest (time) for a shovel in the ground is 2013,” said Mr. Edey.
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