The 180-megawatt Samsung Pattern Armow Wind project received provincial approval Wednesday, but it’s not something a group representing residents in the project vicinity are celebrating.
A total of 92 turbines received Ministry of the Environment Renewable Energy Approval for the much-contested project, which includes the northeastern portion of the Municipality of Kincardine from Highway 9 north to Kincardine Township near Tiverton.
Armow’s project overview said the project is expected to pay out $10 million in property taxes over a 20-year contract period, with the construction period expected to take 12 to 18 months. The project will likely be operational by 2015.
Scott Duncan, a vocal opponent of the project who sat on the Inter-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group as a representative for Kincardine, said he wished approval would have come a year and a half ago, since the discussions with the company during that time ended up being met with “lip service” and a “heartbreaking” outcome he knew was “inevitable.”
“We’re a few residents dealing with a multi-billion-dollar corporation that signed a deal with a corrupt government,” said Duncan, regarding the Ontario Liberal’s Green Energy Act. “The odds were not in our favour. I had a feeling it was going this way the moment Samsung came to town.”
Duncan has spent the last two years trying to sell his small family farm on Conc. 5 of Kincardine Township, after they learned the project had optioned three turbines within 1.5 km of their home and more across the landscape. He said the one offer they did have fell through, and they’re now left with the option of trying to sell within a wind turbine approval/construction area, or living with the industrial wind turbines their family has been fighting for the last few years.
“We’ll see if we can live with this monster next door,” said Duncan.
He, his wife Ashley, and a number of other neighbours had worked with Suncor-Acciona before the sale of the project to Samsung-Pattern in 2011.
With ongoing health issues reported by residents within the Enbridge Ontario Wind Power project in Bruce Township and Suncor Acciona wind project outside Ripley, Duncan said the community should expect the same health and property devaluation issues that were experienced in existing local wind projects.
“Despite all the reasons, health issues and problems, here we are with almost another 100 turbines rammed down our throats,” he said. “It’s a sad day for Armow and a sad day for democracy. The process was so completely skewed in favour of a few wealthy landowners and a corporation that is capitalizing of the inconveniencing and suffering of our community.”
Despite Armow Wind’s previous claims it had consulted with local Mennonite and Amish property owners in the Armow area, Duncan said his neighbours frequently asked him what the status of the project was.
“Unless they had talked to their neighbours in the last 48 hours they likely don’t even know approval has taken place,” he said.
Duncan said he had the most difficulty trying to inform people the Sieman’s 2.3MW G2 wind turbines being used on the project are almost doubled the size of existing wind turbines in the region.
“This is not the Enbridge or Ripley size of project,” said Duncan. “It’s an unprecedented scale. There’s no other way to describe it and people won’t see this until they’re up… and then it’ll be too late.”
In a Ministry of Environment statement, the province listed the changes to be made to the Armow project “as a result of comments received from the municipality and local residents, conditions of the approval”
Armow Wind Ontario LP is required to:
• Carry out an acoustic emission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment to ensure compliance with the ministry’s noise emission limits.
• Implement the pre and post construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring.
• Implement mitigation measures as discussed with NAV Canada.
• Notify the ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility.
• Prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to the local planning board and local services boards.
“Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process ensures that extensive municipal, Aboriginal and public consultation takes place,” the MOE release reads. “All comments the ministry received regarding the project were carefully considered before a decision was made to approve this project.”
Armow Wind representatives didn’t respond to questions before deadline Thursday at 4pm.
Armow Wind’s website said upwards of 200 jobs are expected to be generated during construction, with 15 permanent jobs and temporary contractors hired upon completion.
For more information visit www.armowwind.com or to view the MOE approval details visit www.ebr.gov.on.ca and search Environmental Registry number 011-8557 or click HERE.
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