A nine-megawatt industrial wind turbine farm in Wainfleet is going ahead.
Construction on five 95-metre-tall turbines is expected to start immediately after Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. was given its Renewable Energy Approvals by the Ministry of the Environment Monday.
The turbines are being built on private land as part of a consortium between Loeffen Farms and Rankin Construction.
“We’re beside ourselves happy. It’s a great step ahead,” said John Andrews, president of IPC Energy, which is developing the project for Wainfleet Wind Energy. “A 50% owner of this project is two brothers right there in Wainfleet. They’re trying to do the right thing, trying to diversify and they’ve just been given such a hard time by their own community.”
The project has been widely opposed by the Township of Wainfleet. The council there has been vocal in its opposition, declaring itself an unwilling host.
“I wasn’t impressed, that’s for sure. We’re really disappointed,” Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said Monday after hearing about the REA approval. “I am surprised it has been approved. I know there are some stipulations, but it’s not good enough.”
The Ministry of the Environment included a list of 15 stipulations dealing with the construction, maintenance and operation of the towers.
Among those was a condition to work with Skydive Burnaby, which was also fighting against the turbine development because it felt it would negatively impact the business.
“Where these turbines are located, 60-70% of the time our jumpers are going to be flying over the turbine blades toward our designated landing area,” said Skydive Burnaby owner Tara Pitt. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Jeffs said the fight to stop the development, along with a separate wind turbine project planned by Niagara Region Wind Corp., isn’t over.
“We’re having a council meeting Tuesday night and our lawyer is coming,” Jeffs said. “I believe there’s a 15-day appeal process so we’re going to look into that. If we can’t do that and these five go up, the NRWC project still isn’t approved.”
Andrews said the five turbines, which are 95 metres tall at the hub and 140 metres tall to the tip of the blades, have already arrived in Niagara.
“We’ll go like heck to get this done by the time the winter sets in,” said Andrews, adding that construction on service roads to start the turbine installation should start in the next week.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Project size: 9 megawatts (5 Vesta V100 Model Turbines)
Height: 95 metres to the hub, 140 metres to the top of the blade
Generation: 26 million KWh per year (enough to power 2,500 homes)
Construction: To start immediately
As part of its approval, the Ministry of the Environment issued the following requirements to deal with the concerns from the township:
– Construct and install the facility within three years of the date of the approval,
– Construct and install the facility in accordance with the documentation considered for the issuance of this approval,
– Properly decommission the facility upon retirement of the facility,
– Comply with the ministry’s sound level noise emission limits at all times,
– Carry out an acoustic emmission audit of the noise produced by the operation of the equipment to determine compliance with the ministry’s sound level limits at receptors,
– Carry out an acoustic emission audit of the wind turbine generators to determine compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications,
– Manage stormwater, and control sediment and erosion during and post construction,
– Not take more than 50,000 litres of water on any day by any means during and post construction,
– Implement the pre- and post-construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring,
– Create a community liaison committee with members of the public and proponent,
– At the expense of the company, retain a consultant to work with Port Colborne Aerodrome and the skydiving operator on implementing mitigating measures,
– Prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to the upper and lower tier municipalities and enter into Road Use Agreements,
– Properly address any archaeological resources discovered,
– Maintain records of the operation and maintenance of equipment and inspections and complaints related to the facility,
– Notify the ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility, and
– Notify the ministry prior to a change of ownership.
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