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Horizon submits REA

THUNDER BAY – Horizon Wind Inc. has submitted its Request for Environmental Approval for its controversial proposed wind farm.

The company announced the submission of its REA for the Big Thunder Wind Park Thursday afternoon. Horizon originally entered into an agreement with the city for the proposed wind farm in 2007, and officials stated in a news release issued to media Thursday that the company continues to work with stakeholders in the area.

But Irene Bond, spokeswoman for Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee, said she doesn’t think this will go forward with the province.

“It’s been over a year since their public consultation process so we haven’t really heard anything from them since then,” Bond said.

“There are many people in this community that think this project went away. Despite the opposition that (Horizon) knows of, they continue to push their project forward in this obviously wrong location. We’re hoping the province will reject this and call for a complete stop to this project or at least find out what the project entails.”

Bond said they have received strong support from Fort William First Nation and the Neebing Township who have both been vocal against the project.

She said that none of the issues that they have had with the project have been addressed because they don’t know what the company plans to do.

She added that the committee members will be meeting Thursday to discuss the REA.

Kathleen MacKenzie, Horizon’s director of community affairs, said community members from Thunder Bay, the Municipality of Neebing and surrounding First Nation communities have been engaged in this process with them for several years now and are hopeful that residents will be pleased with the REA submission and how it directly responds to their feedback.

The company also states that the REA will demonstrate how the wind park will:

• Protect the Loch Lomond watershed
• Respect wildlife and plant species
• Build on only two per cent of the 17,000 acres Horizon is leasing from the city
• Plant new trees and other vegetation
• Provide up to eight per cent of the city’s power needs

“In addition, experts have found that we are not located in the migratory paths of birds and that we have stayed away from important sugar maple stands,” MacKenzie said.

“We have made sure that we are at least 1.1 kilometres from any home – double the provincially-mandated distance. Changes have been made to the original project to address community concerns, including reducing the number of turbines to only 16, and locating the turbines further back to reduce visibility.”