Manvers Wind Concerns announced they will appeal the Province’s decision to approve the controversial Sumac Ridge wind energy project in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
On Wednesday (Dec. 11) the Ministry of the Environment announced approval for wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind project, although with conditions, including a requirement that construction not begin until all permits for endangered species have been issued.
Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble said she checked the notice on Thursday morning (Dec. 12) and that the approvals were for two Sumac Ridge wind turbines.
She said there are four proposed wind farms for the City of Kawartha Lakes being developed by different green energy companies; Sumac Ridge, Snowy Ridge, Settlers Landing and Stoneboat. Each project has five turbines. Sumac Ridge is being developed by wpd Canada and is the first of these to get provincial approval.
Coun. Stauble said she and the Manvers Wind Concerns group were trying to determine which three turbines had been removed and where the remaining two turbines would be located. She contacted the Ministry for that information, and checked the website again later while waiting to hear back.
“I didn’t get a response, so I checked again and saw it had been revised. The approval is for all five Sumac Ridge turbines.”
(Shortly after this interview, the Ministry emailed Manvers Wind Concerns apologizing for the error and confirming the approval is for five turbines.)
A press release issued by wpd states, once constructed, the project will feed an estimated 26,497,200 kWh of clean, renewable energy annually into the electricity grid: an equivalent to the average annual power use of 1,514 homes.
“We’re pleased we’ve received the go-ahead to move forward with this project,” stated wpd Canada
President, Ian MacRae. “We’re committed to using competitively-priced local labour and services as much as possible in the construction phase, and we’ll begin the process to engage contractors and suppliers in the very near future.”
The release states wpd will work with the City of Kawartha Lakes Planning Department to develop a traffic management plan for the project. wpd will also prepare an emergency response protocol for any incidents that might arise on the project worksite.
The Province allows 15 days to appeal the decision. In an email, Paul Reid of Manvers Wind Concerns said, “We note that the 15th day is Christmas Day and we hope your provincial government will agree to an extension to appeal. The appeal will be filed regardless.”
He noted the group has no plans to give up the fight to keep wind turbines out of their neighbourhoods; that if you “let one in, you let them all in.”
“Make no mistake,” he wrote. “We will now fight this decision with all of the legal and regulatory means at our disposal. Once again, I would ask that people consider further contributions to the Manvers Wind Concerns Legal Fund. Clearly, this is a dark hour for us all.”
Coun. Stauble said under the provincial Fees in Tarrif Program (FIT), green energy companies must be able to produce a specific amount of energy. But, there is only so much room on the grid for wind energy projects, she said.
“There is no more room on the grid for the Province to grant large-scale FIT contracts, and while the Minister Chiarelli said municipalities can have more input on wind projects, the Province knows (there’s no room.)
“They’re saying, ‘I’ll give you more pie, but they’re not baking any more pies.”
Coun. Stauble also sent an email to her constituents, expressing disappointment the Ministry would approve the project “after tremendous public opposition and 2870 comments posted on the Environmental Registry last spring.”
She is also concerned about the Cham Shan Temple, which is an investment of about $100 million in Cavan-Millbrook Township and the City. Coun. Stauble said the Buddhists are building four temples to replicate a pilgrimage in China. “They’ve been planning this project for 20 years, and construction is [well underway] on the main temple,” she said. “But, they have already said if all of these wind projects are approved, they will not build the remaining three temples here. That will result in the City losing that investment of about $60 million.”
Details of the Sumac Ridge project are contained in the Notice of Approval at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.
For more information visit manverswindconcerns.com.
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