Residents in southern Prince Edward County are fearful a row of maple trees are going to be cut down to pave the way for transmission lines for a pair of wind developments.
Eric Schenkman, a resident of Maypul Layn Road, appeared before the County’s committee of the whole looking for answers to rumours that Hydro One crews were preparing to begin removing what he called “100-year-old maple trees” to allow for the installation of transmission lines for projects planned by Gilead Power and wpd Canada.
Gilead Power is in the final stages of the approval process to install nine turbines on crown land at Ostrander Point while wpd has 29 turbines planned for privately-owned land throughout South Marysburgh.
“I’m here on behalf of all the residents on Maypul Layn Road and we are extremely concerned about all the talk that both wpd and Gilead are looking at our road for their transmission lines,” Schenkman said. “Stray voltage is a huge concern for all of us, but my neighbours have a family-run dairy farm and it’s a real concern.
“I can tell you, we are sleeping with one eye open all the time because we don’t understand why a cut would be planned before all the necessary approvals have been issued.”
Schenkman also questioned the ownership of the road and said although the municipality might own the road bed, there may in fact be no right-of-way for shoulders and ditches.
“If you look at those trees, you can clearly see they go right down the original fence lines, the Millers to the east and mine to the west,” he said. “I don’t think the County owns anything there but the travelled road.”
He suggested other routes should be considered, including an unopened road allowance one kilometre to the west of Maypul Layn Road.
Public works commissioner Robert McAuley said his department is currently trying to establish what land the municipality owns in the area of Maypul Layn Road.
“I agree, the title to Maypul Layn Road is very ambiguous at best, so we are pulling documents in an effort to determine exactly what we do own and what we don’t,” he explained. “I have personally spoken with Hydro One and they have assured me no work order has been issued to cut those trees down.”
With rumours swirling regarding the removal of the trees, Gilead Power’s vice-president Mike Lord issued a statement denying the company was moving forward in preparation for the transmission lines.
“Gilead Power wants to assure Prince Edward County residents that Hydro One is not undertaking any design, construction or forestry work relating to the line build for the Ostrander Point Wind project,” Lord’s release stated. “Reports that Gilead has requested work to begin are completely false.”
McAuley said the situation was being monitored daily and reminded the committee his department is dealing only with Hydro One.
“We deal with Hydro One and not Gilead or WPD,” he said. “We do have a role to play here, but the Green Energy Act does limit that. We will make suggestions, but if we can’t come to an agreement, the Ontario Power Authority makes the final decision.”
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