The environmental assessment for a controversial wind farm remains in limbo, and the province’s environment ministry has no timeline as to when a decision will be made.
Officials with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment met with members of Fort William First Nation Wednesday to hear concerns about the proposed controversial Big Thunder Wind Farm.
Horizon Wind Inc., the company behind the proposed wind farm, also attended the closed-door meeting but Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau said officials with the company left 20 minutes into the the three-hour discussion after a discrepancy.
“We urged them to stay,” she said. “There was a bit of a disagreement and as a result they left.”
Ultimately though the day’s discussion was between the MOE and Fort William First Nation over its duty to consult.
Morriseau said to-date that consultation process has broken down.
The discussion based on the treaty is not just with Fort William First Nation but all communities signed under the Robinson Superior treaty, Morriseau said.
MOE spokeswoman Lisa Brygidyr said Fort William First Nation brought up a number of valid concerns in the meeting that will be taken into consideration when a decision is made.
“The ministry has no actual timeline as to when it will make a decision,” she said.
Morriseau said the meeting was just the first step in a consultation process that has yet to be determined.
Horizon issued a statement saying it is committed to protecting the Loch Lomond watershed and the environment around the wind farm.
“In the years since we first sat down with Fort William First Nation to discuss the wind park, we have commissioned exhaustive studies that show no harm to either people or the environment. To the contrary, the Big Thunder Wind Park will provide clean, renewable energy to the region,” CEO Anthony Zwig said.
It is currently looking to set up a community liaison committee to address concerns.
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