In a sea of protesters and a blocked off road by the OPP, the K2 Wind Power Project (Capital Power/Samsung) open house took place at the Morning Star Masonic Lodge in Carlow on July 12. The open house was put on to give the public an update on where the project currently is, but the protestors didn’t welcome the open house format because they believe their voices wouldn’t be heard. The project has been proposed for Ashfield-ColborneWawanosh Township.
The K2 Wind Power Project’s website states, “Capital Power will continue to develop and maintain strong relationships with our neighbours throughout the project area. We will be undertaking extensive discussions with these and other stakeholders beginning with the detailed design work for the project. Our goal is to develop a project that, to the greatest extent possible, is both environmentally sound and respects the values and interests of the local community.”
On the other side of the coin there have been 736 ACW Twp. residents to date who have signed a petition opposing the K2 wind project with these concerns: economics, human and livestock health, property values, tourism, source water protection, wildlife habitats, migratory routes, loss of municipal control, loss of local democracy, loss of prime agricultural land and food production, loss of future development potential, drain on local extractive resources and loss of trust amongst family members, friends and neighbours.
“This is where we live and this is our community and we are not being heard. We aren’t being heard by the province and we are not being heard by K2,” said ACW resident Anita Frayne. “We have legitimate concerns and we have been trying to address them for years and no one seems to be hearing us and we feel we have no choice, but to ratchet it up and try to be heard.”
K2 employees were on hand at the open house to answer questions on the project themselves and talk about the benefits of the wind turbine project.
“We have been proposing the project for a while in this area and we have very supportive landowners with over 90 of them who want this project to be built,” said Lori Wilson, Capital Power consultation manager. “We are here today to get feedback from the community. We have had a mix of questions that is in common with what has been in the media lately and specific to the project itself.”
One of the issues the ACW residents had with the open house format is there wasn’t an opportunity they feel for a back and forth conversation with the K2 employees. Frayne said they even approached K2 at a recent ACW council meeting and asked them to switch the open house to a question and answer type of meeting. ACW councillor Barry Millian specifically asked K2 if they would format their open house to a question and answer meeting but the K2 representatives think the open house is a better format.
“We want to close down this open house because we asked for a question and answer format at a recent ACW council meeting and K2 representatives said no,” said Frayne. “We feel this open house is a staged event and as far as we can see it’s simply to just go through the process. Our questions are not being answered and we feel a day like this isn’t fair to the ratepayers who are concerned about the negative aspects of this project.”
The 170-megawatt project is proposed to have 140 turbines for the project and K2 employees who seemed reluctant to speak about the protestors were more interested in speaking about the project itself. They wanted to provide information about the progress of the project, which Wilson said was the primary reason for the open house.
“We are here as far as getting the community’s feedback on the project and that’s why we are having the open house,” said Wilson. “We will obviously have people who are for the project and people who will have questions and concerns.”
Wilson said the K2 project would be looking at about the middle of 2013 to start construction for the wind turbines and an end date of around late 2014. This is all based on regulatory approval.
For now the K2 Wind Power Project is a bone of contention for many ACW residents who would like more answers to the questions they have, but there are landowners who welcome the project as well. Whatever side of the fence people are on projects like this will be an issue for quite some time.
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