Mayor Ken Hewitt is gearing up for the intense construction of NextEra’s Grand Renewable Energy Park in the Fisherville and Cheapside areas.
At the November 28 Police Service Board meeting, Hewitt asked detachment commander Inspector Phil Carter if more officers could monitor the area for the next few months to ensure that the trucks driving through are abiding by the traffic laws.
He said he’s anticipating that residents in the area will be angry to see the turbines, and will find blame in any way that they can including blaming the truck drivers for speeding down the roads.
“We want to ensure that the OPP are aware of the extra traffic down that way and to ensure that those trucks are abiding by the rules and laws,” Hewitt later said.
Carter noted the request and said the Cayuga OPP currently has a monitoring system in place, which can record issues in each community. The officers attending those communities would essentially know the issues and would be ready.
With NextEra’s construction underway, it’s evident that residents in the area are frustrated with the holes dug up around their homes.
As Haldimand County’s mayor, Hewitt said it’s his job to lead his community through tough times.
“We’re resilient. We will see a positive future, and I don’t believe that anything is permanent,” he said. “I’m seeing developers showing interest in Caledonia. Five years ago, we never thought it would happen.”
He said that when the OPG plant came to Haldimand, there was uproar in the community, and now that the community is facing the closure of the plants, people are now fighting to keep OPG in the county.
“It’s my job to find our way through some of this stuff and find a positive solution and a positive outcome. It’s not fair for me to even imagine or understand the anger that some of these people have gone through, [but] I have to push on. We have to move forward.”
The county is anticipating the turbines to be operational by the summer of 2013, which means the first installment of the Community Vibrancy Fund (CVF) will roll in shortly afterwards.
Hewitt said the funds will be separated from the county’s budget, and council will hold a budget meeting in the fall of 2013 to address where the funds should go with input from the public.
“We’ll also amortize some of that [money] so we won’t just be looking at spending the dollar as it comes in,” said Hewitt. “Once we know the projects are operating, then it’s a 20-year guarantee so we’ll amortize and bring some money forward so we can invest in the community right away.”
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