Samsung-Pattern yet to sign municipal agreement or commit to turbine sites outside airport buffer zone
A representative for Pattern Energy revealed there’s a possibility wind turbines will be put within airport buffer zones.
Representatives for the wind project also failed to produce documents that would commit the project to guidelines laid out by the Municipality of Kincardine.
The placement of wind turbines was discussed in a meeting of the Kincardine Wind Turbine Committee. Representatives from Samsung- Pattern Wind Project spoke in front of about 20 members of the public in council chambers on March 19.
Councillor and committee member Jaqueline Faubert asked Jody Law of Pattern Energy and Brian Edwards of Samsung Renewable Energy if turbines might be put within areas designed to protect aircraft flightpaths. Placing turbines inside these buffer zones would mean a break from municipal policy.
“In terms of the number of the number of turbines, there’s obviously going to be some negation of our policy,” said Faubert.
“Right,” said Law.
The acknowledgement followed a discussion on the Samsung-Pattern plan to build part of the Armow Wind Project within the airport buffer zone.
“I just need to know for myself, because you weren’t able to tell us turbines won’t go in the vicinity, that there’s still a possibility,” Faubert said.
“There’s a possibility,” said Law.
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said the municipality’s concern for the airport is justified based on Samsung-Pattern’s inactivity to date.
“Our municipal airport is a big investment, and when you have assets you don’t want to mess around,” Eadie said. “We want to know, before it gets down the road, that you’ll respect our airport boundaries and we want it in writing.”
Law said Samsung-Pattern would be “happy to provide updates every week or so,” but asked the committee exactly how they should proceed with communications to the committee.
On Jan. 31 Samsung-Pattern agreed to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the committee within 30 days. The MOU will provide written confirmation turbines would not be proposed in the airport vicinity area.
That deadline has since passed, and the committee is still waiting.
The memorandum was also expected to confirm all power lines within the project would be buried, with the agreement to be available within the same 30-day period. A consultation scheduled for June 15 has been pushed back as a result. Currently, there is no rescheduled date outlined in the committee agenda.
“We do not have the MOU at this time,” said Law. “We were hoping. A month ago, it was supposed to be ready this week, but things happen. It got pushed back.”
Municipality Building Manager Michele Barr said the company has yet to follow up on its commitments.
“Staff hasn’t even looked at your projects,” said Barr. “You guys haven’t brought anything in yet.”
Law attributed the delay to a need for clarification from council.
“The request we got back (from Samsung upper management) was for a little more clarity,” Law said. “There’s some questioning behind how the Master Agreement fits.”
That didn’t sit well with committee members, who said that the municipality is always available to field questions.
“Anyone would be more than willing to get the information to you so you can get the answers that you need,” said councillor and committee member Candy Hewitt.
“You should be meeting with staff,” added councillor Maureen Couture.
Law then told the committee the companies’ “position is with the municipality.”
Faubert sought further clarifi cation to the comments.
“Maybe I’m not understanding,” she said. “If that’s the philosophy, if you want to respect our airport security, why can’t you say that?”
Edwards said working around airport buffers presents challenges not previously encountered.
“We answer to management of both companies,” Edwards said. “We were a little confused. Our experience in other municipalities has been road agreements.”
Edwards also said while Samsung-Pattern is “committed” to burying lines, certain factors might stand in the way.
“We’re committed to being underground,” he said. “The issue that comes is some things in the municipality mean we can’t be underground.”
Edwards gave the example of collector lines presenting a potential barrier to grounding lines.
Law said Samsung-Pattern Energy is working with NAV Canada, a private corporation that owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation service, on the issue of airport buffer zones.
NAV Canada will take into account the 150 metre height of the turbines when evaluating buffer zones, but a report on the agency’s findings is still several weeks away.
Law said NAV Canada’s findings are usually enough for wind power projects to move forward, but “this is the first time the municipality has been a major stakeholder,” he said.
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