Local conservation groups were hoping to hear the Ministry of Environment’s final decision today on whether or not to grant Gilead Power permission to build nine turbines along Ostrander Point.
The proposal was posted to the Environmental Registry Nov. 30 for a 60-day public review and comment period. Local groups were under the impression a decision would be made six months later.
“We thought there was a six month rule, then we learned today there is no absolute deadline,” said Gary Mooney a member of the steering committee for the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy.
Mooney said he has been speaking through email with the ministry and was told they are at the tail end of the process.
“I was informed a decision will be made within the next few weeks,” said Mooney.
Gilead Power has been planning the project since 2006.
Mooney said this process has been long and tiresome for many members in the various local groups who have been battling the issue for years now.
“We keep going because the issue is important to us and our new members are always bringing new energy to our pursuit,” said Mooney.
Last Saturday CCSAGE members and friends hosted about 400 people at a community rally at the fairgrounds in Milford to raise awareness, attract new members, listen to live music and enjoy a barbecue.
Richard Copple a co-founder and president of the Point-to-Point PEC Foundation said the purpose of the gathering was to invite locals who are unsure, or unaware, of the issue so they could make educated decisions.
“We want them to be able to decide if there is something they can do to affect whether or not turbines are built here or not,” said Copple. “Some people have felt they haven’t had a voice that has made an effect.”
Copple said his local group isn’t against wind development and they simply want to turn a negative issue into a positive one. One of the simple solutions the group has been working on is to designate the area on Ostrander Point as a national park and conservation marina.
“This should be a conservation and recreation land,” said Copple. “We want to see it protected from mass destruction.”
A number of residents agree with Copple, saying they don’t want to see the county altered by turbine construction.
The second wind development in the works, the White Pines Project, plans to spread 29 turbines along South Bay. The project is still going through the public consultation phase and is preparing to submit its proposal to the Ministry of Environment in September.
“I don’t want to see turbines along the landscape in Prince Edward County,” said Joan Churchill. “I don’t believe that they add to wind power and I don’t think that there is an energy issue that turbines can resolve.
Churchill said she has visited the wind farm on Wolfe Island and thinks the sound from the turbines was horrible.
“Anything that creates a sound like that non-stop can’t be good,” said Churchill.
Gloria Durell said she’s more concerned with the issue of turbines harming birds.
“We are bird watchers,” said Durell pointing to her husband Brian. They will be killing birds. They won’t do any good.”
Brian Durell said he thinks wind power is too expensive.
“It makes no sense environmentally or economically,” Durell said. “I hope the county can make them pay up front maybe a half a million dollars to take them down if the companies go belly up.”
Miss Emily Fennell said the topic of wind development is important to her because she grew up here and her family still resides the County.
“Just like we saw in Wolfe Island, the topic of wind development has really divided the community and you can’t afford that type of division in small communities,” said Fennell. “There is some really prime land here for agriculture. I think there are better places for wind turbines to go where it isn’t going to affect the community.”
It wasn’t just county residents and natives who attended the event.
Gail Kenney a resident of Wolfe Island said she came to inform County residents of the struggles she and her husband have experienced with Ontario’s assessment review board.
Wolfe Island is home to 86 turbines, three of which are a kilometre from the Kenney’s home and another 27 within three kilometres.
The Kenney’s had tried to prove that the turbines have reduced the value of their waterfront home.
“We have lost the quiet of our home,” said Kenney. We’ve lost our viewscape, we lost our night sky because of the flashing of the lights on the turbines, we have lost our community because it divided us, we have lost our family because members of our family have had turbines built on their property across from us, we lost our piece of mind, we have health issues and we have been disenfranchised, we don’t know who to vote for.”
The board concluded that the Kenney’s had failed to prove their home had depreciated in value due to wind turbines.
“How do you prove that the industrial noise is driving you nuts?” said Kenney. “How do you prove that?”
Kenney said there are appealing the Assessment Board’s decision and trying to prove there are negative health affects related to industrial wind developments.
If Gilead’s plan is approved, Mooney said his group will likely launch an appeal to the environmental tribunal review based on the destruction of the County’s natural environment.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding