As workers from Rankin Construction prepped concrete pads for two wind turbines on Station Rd., a preliminary hearing into an appeal of the project was underway in a community room at Wainfleet fire hall Wednesday.
Lawyers representing Skydive Burnaby and owners Mike and Tara Pitt, the Ministry of the Environment and Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. were before an environmental review tribunal to discuss the matter, raise procedural issues and set dates for a full hearing.
The Pitts and their company are appealing Wainfleet Wind Energy’s project on Station Rd., which will see two wind turbines installed on land owned by the Loeffen family.
The Loeffens have partnered with Rankin Contruction on the project. Wainfleet Wind Energy is also installing three more wind turbines to the northwest of Station Rd., off of Concession 1.
Eric Gillespie, representing both the Pitts and Skydive Burnaby, told tribunal board executive chair Lynda Tanaka and vice-chair Dirk VanderBent that there has been discussion between the various parties.
“We have a partial settlement on some of the matters at issue in the appeal,” said Gilllespie, of Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corp.
The lawyer, who has fought other wind turbine projects in Ontario, told the tribunal board members the appeal will now focus on two issues.
“It’s a more limited scope,” said Gillespie, adding the original appeal looked at human health issues as well.
The appeal will now focus on skydiving operations at the Burnaby Rd. facility, which has been in operation for decades as an airport and skydive facility.
“There are really two aspects to it. The first is parachuting activities. There are 10,000 jumps each year from the facility and in order for that operation to take place, there are aircraft movements,” said the lawyer.
Gillespie said the appeal will also focus on collision, turbulence and shadow flicker concerns from the Station Rd. turbines, which sit 1.7 kilometres west of Skydive Burnaby.
As for concerns around human health issues and wind turbines, Gillespie reserved the right to put those issues back on the table depending on the outcome of two upcoming hearings on wind turbines in others part of the province.
While it was mainly lawyers and the tribunal board working to set procedure and dates for the hearing, which will resume in January 2014, three residents also appeared.
Frank De Ruyte, who lives to the north of the site of turbine No. 5 on Station Rd., Terry Maxner and Andrew Watts, had all requested presenter status at the hearing.
The Township of Wainfleet will have participant status at the hearing, which will allow its lawyer to ask questions of witnesses.
VanderBent asked each if they still wished to be presenters given the limited scope of the hearing.
De Ruyte and Watts withdrew their requests, while Maxner said wanted to remain as a presenter.
Watts told the tribunal board he wished to raise concerns with the environment ministry over the project.
“I thought this would be more open,” he said of the hearing, not realizing the change in scope would make things more restrictive.
Watts said there was nothing he could bring in terms of the appeal as it applied to Skydive Burbany and on that basis withdrew his request.
Maxner, who lives south of the Station Rd. turbines, told the board he would focus on the safety of skydivers.
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