A West Grey man is appealing to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) to overturn approval for a wind turbine project near Priceville.
Leonard Van Den Bosch of the former Glenelg Township has appealed the MOE decision to the Environmental Review Tribunal.
In January, the ministry gave the go ahead to the 14-turbine East Durham Project, developed by NextEra Canada.
Van Den Bosch, who was not available for comment, owns property in the direct vicinity of where the turbines are proposed to be erected. He currently does not live on the property full time, but it has been part of his family for a number of years and his plan is to retire there.
That’s what Joan Rawski and her husband did. The Rawskis moved from Kitchener to get away from city life. Soon after they settled on their hobby farm, they discovered they were living approximately 1km from the closest turbine proposed for the East Durham Project.
According to Rawski, a neighbour of Van Den Bosch, who has been part of the fight against the NextEra project for the better part of the past four-and-a-half years, the appeal to the MOE has little to do with the aesthetics that comes with an industrial wind turbine in your backyard.
The main facet of the appeal revolves around the safety of the drinking water for area properties.
Each turbine will require a concrete base of at least 800 tonnes, Rawski said, three of which are proposed for behind the Van Den Bosch property.
“They are going to be place directly on top of the aquifer which provides our drinking water, for those of us who are on well water. That aquifer should be protected under The Clean Water Act. ” Rawski said. “To think that putting tonnes and tonnes of concrete cement over an aquifer is a good idea, and good for the environment, is a huge, huge problem.”
The concern is that some of the chemicals in the concrete, such as phallium, cadmium and mercury, will seep into the drinking water and poison it.
Human health isn’t the only concern being brought up in the appeal. Van Den Bosch will argue area wildlife, including endangered species found in the Saugeen River, have not been adequately considered in granting approval to NextEra Canada for the project.
“These companies are not permitted to do anything that will disturb or destroy (the endangered wildlife’s) habitat,” Rawski said. “They would have to have some sort of special permit in order to go ahead and do these sorts of things, and we don’t believe they have those permits.”
Although the appeal is to the MOE approval, NextEra Canada, which is developing the project, plans to attend the hearing.
NextEra Canada spokesperson Adam Rickel said he doesn’t expect the appeal will delay the project, first proposed six years ago, from moving forward.
“This doesn’t change the Renewal Energy Approval decision,” Rickel said last week. “Until something occurs to change that decision, we’re moving forward with the decision rendered by the MOE.”
A preliminary hearing into the appeal is set for March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Durham Community Centre. The full hearing has been scheduled to begin April 1 with 12 days set aside for the appeal.
~ with files from QMI Agency
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