September 26, 2012
Letters, Ontario

In search of commitments

Orangeville Banner | Sep 26, 2012 |

Editor’s note: This letter is directed toward officials at Dufferin Wind Power. A copy was circulated to The Banner.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in response to the ads you recently placed in at least two local newspapers.

You state quite emphatically that “Your input is important”, so here is some of my “important” input:

One of the first things that caught my attention is the statement “one for one tree replacement in all significant woodland areas.”

Now let’s take a careful look at the commitment you have made here, and questions that arise upon critical examination:

One for one – Who outside of your company (not paid by your company) will be monitoring and recording the count? Is a 50-year-old tree equivalent to the two-year-old sapling you would replace it with (that may or may not survive its first year in the new location)? Are you saying you will plant another tree the same age as the tree being removed, and guarantee its survival so there is a true “replacement” of what is lost?

Significant woodland areas – Whose definition of significant? Only woodland areas? I suppose a mature, single tree with a full productive canopy, by itself on the edge of a road, or a field would not be important enough by this vague statement to be replaced at all (or better yet, to be protected from any cutting).

The next thing that caught my attention was the amazing statement (remember, under the big heading “Commitment to Protect the Natural Environment”) “three year post construction bird and bat monitoring.”

What is amazing about this? Considering this is the minimum requirement of the REA approval you are seeking, why do you even mention it in this context? Is this supposed to be some consolation to make the “people of Dufferin County” feel good about your project? That Dufferin Wind is so concerned that you will, through your magnificent generosity, stand on guard for the bird and bat populations? Why don’t you tell the truth: there will be bird and bat mortality, and the monitoring is an attempt (mandated by Ministry of Natural Resources) to make sure the acceptable threshold (and declare publicly what that number is, please) is not exceeded.

And if it is, then what will you do? Stating you are following the minimum requirement tells us nothing. Will you commit to shutting down turbines that are killing too many birds and bats? That would have been a more honest statement to make in your ad.

Why would we trust the numbers your company produces, and can it ever be known what the truth is, since estimates are based on occasional observation plugged into formulas?
In conclusion, your “Commitment to on-going Consultation” is a sham. The REA requires that you “consult” with the community, but as long as the community has no veto in the imposition of a major change such as your wind project, then what anyone in the community says is irrelevant. It is rather like being told “you must have cancer, now where would you like it to be, and is there anything you would like to say about it?”

This project, sitting as it does, against and interspersed amongst the woodlands and wetlands of northeast Melancthon Township is a travesty, and should not be allowed to happen.

Dennis Sanford, Melancthon

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