KINGSTON – Amherst Island residents are concerned a power company has started work on a proposed wind turbine project before it has been approved.
Residents of the island said crews subcontracted by Algonquin Power were recently on the island taking core samples and seismic readings in advance of a proposed wind energy project.
“They are jumping the gun,” said Brian Little, who works on the Amherst Island ferry and spoke with members of the core drilling team when they went to the island last month.
“They said they were taking core samples to see what is down there, to see what they have to go through when they set up the turbines,” Little said.
Little said he was told the crew was taking core samples from about six properties owned by people who have signed on to host turbines.
Three of the proposed wind turbines are to be built near Little’s house and a substation is to be built a few hundred metres across the road.
Last week Little saw a vehicle in a the field across the road from his house on the Second Concession.
He said the vehicle was conducting seismic tests on land under which electrical cables are to from each of the turbines proposed for the island.
“I’m not thrilled at all,” he said.
In a letter to Doris Dumais, the director of the Environmental Approvals Access and Service integration Branch at the Ministry of the Environment, Peter Large, president of the Association to Protect Amherst Island, said the core drilling is work that has not been approved by the province.
“Algonquin’s proposal for 33 to 37 50-storey wind turbines has not been approved and, as such, Algonquin has no authority to advance the project, which this current core-drilling does,” Large wrote.
Large asked the ministry to stop the sampling on the island.
Janet Grace of the Association to Protect Amherst Island said the core drilling and siesmic tests can be viewed in two ways: either as pre-project investigations or as the early stages of the building process.
Grace said Algonquin Power is getting ahead of the project.
“They won’t have approval ready for the REA (Renewable Energy Approval Regulation) until August 2013. They have so may hoops to jump through,” she said.
A spokesperson from Algonquin Power was unavailable for comment.
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