As far as wind turbines are concerned – Andrew Watts says they blow.
During a public meeting in Wainfleet township council chambers Tuesday night, Watts pleaded with Niagara Region Wind Corp. (NRWC) to stop moving forward with its proposed Wainfleet wind turbine farm until “you know what you are doing.”
Watts was one of several residents to offer comments at the meeting to receive input toward NRWC’s municipal consultation component required in the Renewable Energy Approval process.
A municipal consultation form requests comments from the township on the use of municipal lands and infrastructure, landscaping, emergency management procedures, and building permit requirements as they relate to the proposed wind farm.
The company is proposing to build up to five three-megawatt turbines on private lands, but including the use of municipal lands for the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the project.
Wainfleet hired Jones Consulting Group Ltd. to review NRWC’s application and documents and offer comments, which will become part of the renewable energy approval process.
Watts said the Jones report questioned a lack of documentation from NRWC that should be in the renewable energy approval package and felt it was “appalling” the company would come forward without that work.
“They are a private, for profit company that still hasn’t got their paperwork together.”
Watts questioned why NRWC didn’t have reports on low-frequency noise generated by industrial wind turbines, noting Health Canada is going to look into that aspect as it studies turbines.
“It’s no longer a question of people being sick, losing and leaving their homes … there’s too much evidence worldwide. You need to stop until proper investigations are carried out,” said Watts.
Watts, like others who spoke, urged council to keep up its fight against wind turbine companies.
“Ontario needs you. These people are going to destroy our community if allowed to go ahead.”
Al Legget, of Stantec Consulting, the company hired by NRWC to put together its renewable energy approval package, said comments would be provided on the Jones report.
“The Jones report went into a lot of detail on information that will come at a later stage,” said Legget.
He said a number of plans – including environmental management – and programs will be put in place before work begins on the project.
Resident Terry Maxner questioned whether there is money set aside to decommission turbines at the end of their lifespans. He said there are 14,000 turbines abandoned in California with no one taking them down and he doesn’t want to see that happen here.
Maxner also questioned what would be done if it was found that water wells were damaged by the project.
NRWC spokeswoman Randi Rahamim said there wil be a performance bond in place for the decommissioning of sites.
Legget said there will be discussions with landowners as to whether they want concrete bases of turbines removed once turbines are taken away.
He also said wells within 500 metres of each site will be monitored for quality and quantity pre- and post-construction.
Resident Louis Shedden said his land sits over the Wainfleet aquifer and he does not want to see it damaged by turbine construction. Shedden said the water from the aquifer is some of the best quality around and cannot be replaced.
Other residents had questions about the projects, while some railed against wind turbines in general and urged council to keep up its fight.
Ray Duhamel, of Jones Consulting Group Ltd., said his report could be modified any way council wanted before being sent in. “It’s an evolving document,” he added.
Township planner Grant Munday said a report will be prepared on comments made by residents and those comments can be included in the municipal consultation component.
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