Dufferin Wind Power wants to hear Dufferin County’s opinion on how the company should transport power generated in Melancthon to the provincial grid. However, the upper-tier municipality’s opportunity to provide input is ticking away.
The company has proposed two options to transmit electricity generated by the planned 49-wind turbine project.
The first proposal would use a 33 km low voltage power line to connect the project to the grid. The line would run through Melancthon and Amaranth, as well as Mulmur, to connect to the grid in Mono. The majority of the line would use existing hydro poles.
“When you put all those lines on there, it will be an eyesore and people wouldn’t like it that much,” Dufferin Wind Power senior vice-president Jeff Hammond said.
Another option would use the abandoned rail corridor to transport electricity to the existing Orangeville transformer station in Amaranth. The company would erect wooden poles to secure the lines along the rail corridor.
“We approached the county and asked if they would consider allowing us to use it,” Hammond said.
However, the county hasn’t offered to negotiate a utility easement, according to Hammond.
“We’re at a point where unless we can get clear answers from the community, we going to have to go ahead with this,” Hammond said. “We have to make a decision to make our contractual timeline.”
Dufferin Wind Power could apply to the Ontario Energy Board for approval of the transmission line without a blessing from the county.
“That’s not how we want to work. We want to work with the county in partnership,” Hammond said.
The two transportation options were presented to Dufferin County residents during a public information centre (PIC) in Horning’s Mills on Tuesday (April 19) – a PIC was scheduled for Amaranth last night, with another in Shelburne on Thursday – as part of the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process. At the Horning’s Mills meeting, two police officers were hired to keep the peace during the PIC.
“They do get rowdy. The law enforcement is here just to keep community safety,” Hammond said. “There has been people who’ve come in drunk before … Some of the citizens could get hurt too.”
Melancthon Deputy Mayor Darren White, who attended the Horning’s Mills PIC, said the company hasn’t demonstrated the spirit of co-operation they say they portray.
“They’re not willing to sit down and talk to me about what can be done as opposed to what they are going to do,” White said. “Last time I checked, we’re in a democracy, not an oligarchy.”
White also questioned why Dufferin Wind Power is willing to bury a portion of the transmission line in Shelburne, but denied the idea in Melancthon.
“I’m not against green energy. I’m against people coming into my township and telling me what I have to do,” White said.
Janice Gale attended the PIC to voice her concerns about the possibility of her Melancthon property value dropping due to the project. She also fears more windmills will equal a disruption in service.
“We already have problems with the Internet and cellphone reception,” Gale said. “The phone company is telling it’s just going to get worse when they put more windmills up.”
Melancthon resident Colin Way shared similar concerns.
“The (rail line) tracks are right on my property, it would be less than a couple of feet from my house,” Way said.
Several residents also raised concerns about reported health issues experienced by some people living near wind turbines.
While Way and Gale filled out comment sheets during the PIC, both believe their concerns will not be taken seriously.
“They’re just trying to appease us and get out quietly,” Gale said.
“If you want to read the comments just pick the garbage up after,” Way added.
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