An anti-wind group has forced the company behind the proposed 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre to move a public meeting it scheduled for Forest on Feb. 8.
Nextera Energy originally announced it was holding an open house that day at Kimball Hall in Forest, but company spokesperson Josie Hernandez said Friday they’re moving to the Legacy Recreation Centre in Thedford.
This is the second time the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group has booked a hall out from under Nextera.
The anti-wind turbine group did it last summer after the company announced plans for a public meeting in Ailsa Craig. Nextera had to move one of its public information sessions to an outdoor pavilion that time.
“We try to do anything within our power to undermine what they’re doing,” said Marcelle Brooks, a member of the action group.
“The littlest things we can do to delay this project, the closer we are to shutting it down.”
Brooks said the group checked after Nextera announced its Forest public meeting and found Kimball Hall hadn’t been booked.
“So, we booked it,” she said.
The action group will hold its own community information meeting at the Forest Hall Feb. 8, beginning at 7 p.m.
Nextera’s meeting on that date will run from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at it’s new location in Thedford, Hernandez said, noting extended hours in case anyone mistakenly goes to the Forest location.
“We have revised notices going out to all the papers,” she said, adding Nextera will also mail out new notices and update the information on the company’s website.
Ontario’s Environment Ministry was told about the venue change, she said.
“They seem to be OK with that.”
The meetings, and how the public is notified about them, are requirements of the province’s environmental approval process for wind projects.
“If they say we need to host another meeting, then we’ll host another meeting allowing the proper notification,” Hernandez said.
Nextera is also holding public meetings Feb. 6, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Watford’s Centennial Hall, and Feb. 7, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Alisa Craig Community Centre.
Hernandez expects they’ll be the final public meetings before Nextera submits the Jericho project for provincial environmental approval.
The company already has a contract to sell electricity from the project into Ontario’s electricity grid.
The environmental approval process is expected to take about eight months and construction of the wind farm could begin before the end of the year, Hernandez said.
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