Opponents of a proposed wind farm development on Amherst Island are happy to see Loyalist Township council debate a motion that, if passed, would call for the rejection of “incomplete” project applications.
Council is to discuss a motion from Deputy Mayor Rick Bresee that calls for interested companies to complete myriad studies before their applications can be considered.
The motion also calls for the provincial ministry responsible for Renewable Energy Approvals to follow suit and consider such applications incomplete.
“For us, this motion is very, very encouraging,” said Michele Le Lay, a member of the board of the Association to Protect Amherst Island.
“We’re very hopeful that council, after discussion, will vote in favour of this motion.”
Loyalist Township has been selected by the Ontario Power Authority as the site of seven alternative energy projects, including Algonquin Power’s application to build between 31 and 37 industrial wind turbines on Amherst Island.
In the motion, Bresee acknowledges the township’s support for the province’s alternative energy program but later adds that “many local and external residents have voiced concerns over a number of issues that Loyalist Township does not have the resources to comment on, but fully believes that the residents’ concerns need to be addressed to their satisfaction.”
The motion states that among the documents that need to be completed before the application can be considered are studies of the project’s impact on wildlife, heritage and culture, noise and visual impact, and planning issues surrounding the turbines construction, including stress on the road system, ferry usage, dock construction and decommissioning.
Without these completed studies, Bresee’s motion asks that the the township “officially considers many of the alternative energy project REA applications to be incomplete,” and further that the municipality “does not support any project with incomplete information.”
“It is putting an official stamp on what we’ve been saying,” Le Lay said.
Le Lay said many of the documents regarding Algonquin Power’s proposal have not been finalized. The company has suggested three locations for a mainland dock.
“If you go on their website, you will see everything is in draft form. Some of the reports that should be there are not there,” she said.
“The whole process has been frustrating,” Le Lay said. “We have to comment on non-final documents. We’re rebutting on something that might not even happen.”
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