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Summerhaven Wind Project approved by province

HALDIMAND COUNTY – An appeal is planned now that the Summerhaven wind turbine project near Jarvis has received provincial approval.

Approval for the 59-unit installation was announced Friday. The next step in the process is a 15-day appeal period. Monday, a representative of Haldimand Wind Concerns said her group is consulting with a lawyer.

“We’ll know more in a few days,” says Betty Ortt of Jarvis, secretary of Haldimand Wind Concerns. “I can’t say anything more than that. The support we need right now is financial.”

Sponsor of the Summerhaven project is NextEra Energy Canada. If the $270 million project moves ahead, turbines will be clustered around Jarvis and Rainham Centre. Josie Hernandez, spokesperson for NextEra, says the industry in Ontario considers an appeal to the Ministry of the Environment to be standard procedure.

“Our approach now is wait-and-see,” she said Monday. “We understand this is something we have to contend with.”

If the turbines arrive, they will not be popular.

Haldimand Wind Concerns and its 200 members have been spreading the word for more than a year that turbines will lower property values, blight the landscape, pose a threat to wildlife and produce power at a price – 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour – that is not conducive to job creation.

“We already have so much excess power,” Ortt said. “We in Ontario already have to pay our neighbours to take our power when we have a surplus. That’s such a waste of ratepayers’ money.”

Jarvis-area Coun. Leroy Bartlett, Ward One’s representative on Haldimand council, confirmed there is stiff opposition to the Summerhaven project. He also confirmed that some landowners are refusing NextEra an easement for transmission lines and may ultimately be forced to co-operate through provincial orders.

“We take legal action if we have to,” Hernandez said. “It’s not something we want to do, but unfortunately it is an option for us.”

Bartlett said a lot has changed since Haldimand council, under former Mayor Marie Trainer, declared its desire to become a “green energy hub” in Ontario. Bartlett said the county would have acted differently had it known what the future held.

“The previous council never dreamed that there would be 200 wind turbines coming to Haldimand,” Bartlett said. “A lot of that was just our lack of understanding and the province not keeping us informed of their intentions.”

With Summerhaven entering an appeal period, attention is turning to Samsung’s proposal in east Haldimand. It calls for the construction of 67 industrial wind turbines and the installation of 425,000 solar panels. The solar end of the project will occupy 800 acres of land.

“It’s huge,” says Dunnville Coun. Lorne Boyko. “The wind is getting a lot of attention, but this thing is monstrous in size.”

If approved, the Grand Renewable Wind and Solar project would be contained in an area bordered by the Grand River in the east and north between Cayuga and Dunnville, with the westerly boundary at Nelles Corners running to the southerly boundary along the north shore of Lake Erie.

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Details of the Grand Renewable project have been posted at the Environmental Registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca. The province will receive comments until April 11.