LAMBTON COUNTY – The Ministry of the Environment is asking questions about a number of mix-ups NextEra Energy has had with its public meetings.
Wind energy companies are required to meet with people surrounding their projects as part of the approval process under the Green Energy Act. In the past few weeks, NextEra has had problems holding some of their meetings on a project which borders Lambton County.
Recently, NextEra was forced to have its public meeting in Ailsa Craig in an outdoor pavilion. Anti-wind activist learned the company had not booked the venue even though it had sent out notices about the meeting. So the activist booked the hall instead. That forced the NextEra meeting outside, right in the middle of a noisy protest.
It also had to postpone a meeting in Strathroy recently. It was first planned for a school, but the school was closed for the summer. It was then booked for a local resident. After wind activist explained the project and the fact they would be protesting at the event, the owner of the restaurant cancelled the booking.
NextEra put public apologies in newspapers saying it will give 30 days’ notice of the next meeting. “Despite these challenges, we believe it is important that the meeting take place as soon as possible so that we can listen to the community’s feedback and provide information that helps answer questions you may have,” says Ben Greenhouse, project director of the Adelaide Wind Energy Center in the ad.
But Marcelle Brooks of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern says that may not be enough to satisfy the Ministry of the Environment. “We have written to the MOE saying ‘you are not getting optimal public coverage at this time of the year’” she says. The MOE has been talking with wind opponents about the meeting mix-up, but it is not clear how it might affect the project.
Brooks says the last two public meetings on the Adelaide project had only a handful of public attend “because we’re in the middle of the wheat harvest and because people are on vacation.”
NextEra was to hold a public meeting on the Jericho Wind Energy Center which stretches from Thedford to Warwick Tuesday in Watford.
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