BETHANY – Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble advised on Thursday (Feb. 27) the Environmental Review Tribunal on the Sumac Ridge Wind Project has adjourned the hearing until April.
Coun. Stauble said that move is “encouraging”, as the Tribunal is, in effect, saying the hearing will not go forward until all the necessary information is on the table.
The hearing was originally scheduled to begin Feb. 24 in Lindsay, but was rescheduled after legal arguments on motions relating to the process were heard in Toronto.
Manvers Wind Concerns, Cransley Home Farm Limited and the Cham Shan Temple are appealing the Province’s approval of wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind project, which will see the installation of several large wind turbines near Bethany.
The Cham Shan Temple is a multi-million dollar initiative of the Buddhist Association of Canada, which will mirror the four great Temples in China. It is designed as a place for spiritual meditation and the Buddhists say wind turbines in the area will have an impact on those making pilgrimages to the Temple.
One is already almost completed and three more are planned for the City of Kawartha Lakes, a total investment of about $100 million.
The Province approved the Sumac Ridge application in December. It is a five-turbine project planned for the area. City of Kawartha Lakes council has repeatedly voted against wind farms in the City.
On Thursday, Coun. Stauble advised the hearing is adjourned until at least April 8.
A key reason, she said, is that one of the wind turbines is planned in an area that is within the 550 metre setback regulated by the Province; in short, it is too close to a ‘noise receptor.’
Coun. Stauble said a noise receptor is any structure, such as a house, that could be impacted by a wind turbine. It must fall within the criteria defined by the Province.
“At the beginning of this process, the Director at the Ministry of the Environment came forward acknowledging that a noise receptor had been identified that was within the 550m setback established under the Green Energy Act regulations…, but, nothing was done about it.”
Coun. Stauble said the Tribunal has cancelled all hearing dates and adjourned until April 8, “at which time the Tribunal will re-assess the status of the proceedings. The Director at the Ministry of the Environment must now bring forward his decision in writing to revoke, amend or take no action.”
Coun. Stauble explained that if the turbine in question is not eliminated from the plan, and either moved or left in place, an opportunity to comment on the revised plan would be important.
“But, it can’t just be left hanging.”
Coun. Stauble said the Sumac Ridge project could also have an effect on the Peterborough airport, which has just spent $50 million to upgrade.
On Feb. 24, the manager of Peterborough’s airport said a proposed wind turbine near Millbrook could limit the future growth of the revamped facility.
Trent Gervais says the proposed turbine is within one of the airport’s landing approaches and, if built as proposed, would prevent the airport’s ability to meet its future needs.
“Right now one wind turbine is definitely on our approach. That’s an issue,” he says.
It would, for example, prevent a chartered flight company from setting up at the airport because the turbine could prevent landings in inclement weather.
Added to the $100 million investment from the Cham Shan Temple which is “now on the ropes”, she said the Province is “thumbing its nose…at $150 million.”
The Cham Shan Temple has stated if Sumac Ridge goes forward, they will not likely build the remaining three Temples.
In the meantime, Coun. Stauble emailed to say wpd “has initiated what they claim is a Municipal Environmental Assessment, without the consent of the City of Kawartha Lakes for roads in the project area. This is not a municipal EA. The email contact and website are: email@example.com or at: www.muncipalea2014.ca.” Coun. Stauble asked anyone commenting to also copy comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In addition, wpd has applied to the Ontario Energy Board to have access to Gray Rd. Road allowance and Wild Turkey Rd. under the Electricity Act,” the email states. “ The posting on the Ontario Energy Board website requires that they notify adjoining landowners, the Clerk at the municipality and post the information on their website. There does not appear to have been any notice on the wpd website…and no notice was provided to the City of Kawartha Lakes. Adjoining landowners who were not notified should advise the Ontario Energy Board and copy me at email@example.com.”