Alnwick/Haldimand councillors oppose wind farm projects; Projects proposed for Grafton and Centreton
ALNWICK/HALDIMAND TWP – Residents of Grafton and Centreton against a proposed wind farm project now have the backing of Alnwick/Haldimand Township council.
Councillors unanimously agreed to send a formal opposition package to the Province, protesting the building of industrial wind farms on the Oak Ridges Moraine, following a presentation by the resident-led group the Alliance for the Protection of Northumberland Hills.
“This project is an outrageous attack on the well-being and aesthetic beauty of Northumberland County and the Oak Ridges Moraine,” said alliance member Tyne Bonebakker at the conclusion of a 30-minute presentation by the group to councillors on Feb. 28.
The package will also ask for an immediate moratorium on approvals of wind farms.
The proposed project, by Clean Breeze Wind Park, includes one wind farm in Grafton, and another in Centreton.
In an earlier interview, Andrea McDowell, environmental assessment manager for M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd., said Clean Breeze will consider any impact on what the population may experience and any threats to archeology or natural heritage.
M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd. was hired as consultants by Clean Breeze.
“It depends on the concern, but we are open to reasonable change,” Ms. McDowell said. “Right now we are reliant of a form of electricity generation that kills hundreds of Ontarians every year, that’s coal. We absolutely need to shut that down. We need to replace it with clean energy.”
The Grafton wind park plan includes five turbines to be built on The Scots Line, south of Noble Road. Centreton’s wind park includes five turbines to be built on Nelson Road, between Baptist Road and County Road 22. All turbines would be 150 metres tall, including blade length.
“In the essence of time, I would like to see us move forward with this as soon as possible,” said Councillor Sandra Walls before the vote was called. “Out of respect for all the hard work of these residents and the genuine concern they have, we should answer their recommendation today.”
Township Mayor Dalton McDonald was not present for the meeting, as he declared a conflict of interest in the matter. Mayor McDonald told councillors he rents farming property near the Centreton project and also owns property close to the proposed wind turbine sites. He believes from higher elevations he could see the proposed towers from his home.
“We have to put this information and concerns of this community into the hands of the people who make these decisions,” said Deputy Mayor Raymond Benns, who chaired the municipal planning meeting in Mayor McDonald’s absence.
In 2009, when the Green Energy Act was signed, it took control of the projects out of the hands of municipalities. Clean Breeze does not need Township approval to build the wind parks.
A petition, signed by 881 people opposed to the project, was also submitted to councillors.
Clean Breeze has two more public information meetings scheduled: April 18 for the Grafton project and April 30 for the Centreton project.
Mr. Bonebakker told councillors the alliance is not opposed to green energy projects.
“It’s not what’s being done, but how and where,” he said.
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