The Ministry of Environment (MOE) is accepting public comment on Dufferin Wind Power Inc.’s plan to construct a wind farm in Melancthon.
The Renewable Energy Application (REA) 45-day comment and review period opened Dec. 27.
Comments must be submitted by Feb. 10 to Sarah Raetsen, senior program support co-ordinator for the MOE’s Operations Division of the Environmental Approvals Branch, at 2 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 12A,
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1L5.
Comments may also be submitted online at by clicking here.
Dufferin Wind, a subsidiary of China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corporation, plans to construct 49 turbines in Melancthon, capable of generating 99.1 megawatts of electricity.
Throughout 2012, the proposed project was met with protest and controversy as Dufferin Wind moved ahead with its plan.
In April, Jeff Hammond, the company’s senior vice-president, drew the ire of Melancthon politicians, while explaining why two police officers were hired to watch over a Public Information Centre (PIC) in Horning’s Mills.
“They do get rowdy. The law enforcement is here just to keep community safety,” Hammond said. “There has been people who’ve come in drunk before … Some of the citizens could get hurt too.”
Hammond later issued an apology for the statement.
“We in no way intended to suggest that the citizens of Melancthon were anything but courteous,” Hammond wrote.
In July, Health Canada announced it would study potential health effects caused by wind turbines.
“This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” said federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
“This study will do just that by painting a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise.”
Wind power opponents noted the study, which is expected to conclude by 2014, is a step in their preferred direction.
“There is some impact occurring because of the opposition,” said Dennis Sanford, spokesperson for Dufferin Wind Resistance, a group that formed earlier in 2012.
About a dozen members of Dufferin Wind Resistance protested the proposed 49-turbine development at another PIC in Horning’s Mills, held days after Health Canada’s study announcement.
“We’re a growing number of people who don’t want to roll over and play dead. We will continue to fight,” Sanford said.
By the end of summer, Dufferin Wind announced it planned to transmit electricity generated in Melancthon via a 48 km-long 230 kV transmission line that would follow Dufferin County’s rail corridor.
The company’s other option for transporting electricity was two 69 kV lines that would run through Melancthon, Amaranth and Mulmur to connect to the grid in Mono.
When Dufferin Wind opened its Shelburne project office in September, Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver was the first to take advantage of the company’s touted open door policy by questioning the selected transmission route.
“If you can put two 69 kV lines through Mono, why can you not bury two 69 kV lines through Amaranth?” MacIver questioned.
“And relieve some of the stress and pressure that residents are coming forward with in terms of potential health hazards, etc.,” MacIver said.
However, burying the transmission line would be a costly endeavour for Dufferin Wind with an estimated price tag of $1.9 to $2.6 million.
MacIver wasn’t the only Dufferin County mayor left asking questions after Dufferin Wind opened its Shelburne office.
After Dufferin Wind announced a $5 million ‘gift’ to Melancthon during the office opening, the township’s mayor Bill Hill wondered how that dollar amount could be considered a present.
“There is no $5 million gift that we got. There is no $5 million gift we’ve agreed to,” Hill said. “I’m quite surprised and shocked at the way this was presented to you through Dufferin Wind, but they do continue to surprise us.”
The $5 million, which would be paid out over 20 years, is contingent on the municipality signing a contract drafted by the company. By signing the contract, Melancthon would also agree to “publicly support” the development.
“For the record, there are many concerns with the agreement,” Hill said in a report to council and staff.
Dufferin Wind conceded that ‘gift’ was the wrong word to use and opted to call the money a “community development contribution” instead.
While Dufferin Wind has completed its REA, Grand Valley Wind is in the process of applying for the third phase of its project, which would add as many as 18 turbines alongside the existing nine.
The proposed third phase crosses into Grand Valley’s projected growth area, according to Mayor John Oosterhof.
“We have a few things we are not very happy about,” Oosterhof said.
The current layout of the project will be presented through two public meetings.
The first will be held Jan. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Township of Amaranth Recreation Hall. The second takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Grand Valley Community Centre.
Hali Zigomanis, environmental manager for the turbine company, said the meetings might help shape the final layout of the project’s expansion.
“At the completion of the consultation process for the project, a decision would be made regarding the final project layout,” Zigomanis said.
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