Horizon Wind Inc. could be hauling the province into court.
The Toronto-based company, which struck a deal in 2007 with the City of Thunder Bay to construct a 32-megawatt wind-turbine farm on the Nor’Wester mountain range, on Friday said they plan to file an and application for a judicial review at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking a final decision on Big Thunder Wind Park.
The move comes about a year after the Ministry of the Environment told company officials their renewable energy approval was complete. They’ve since engage in a technical review of the province, which resulted in 400 online comments, for and against the controversial project.
“We’d rather be generating clean energy than exchanging papers in a courtroom,” Horizon spokeswoman Kathleen MacKenzie said. “But sometimes you have to do one before the other.
Recent judicial review applications filed by Fort William First Nation against various ministries have created some confusion. We’ve asked for the court’s help in straightening it all out.”
Fort William First Nation last month filed applications for judicial reviews against both the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Natural Resources.
Prior to that they also filed for a review against the Ministry of Municipal Housing and Affairs, demanding the province quash Horizon’s lease of treaty lands. The First Nation’s leaders cited a failure to consult and protect treaty and Aboriginal rights.
The province agreed to delay any activity and hold off on approval of the project until the legal proceedings worked their way through the courts. But the divisional court panel that would deal with the matter only sits twice a year, in June and December.
MacKenzie said the construction delays are getting frustrating for the company.
“From the calls and emails we receive, we know people are impatient to get the Big Thunder Wind Park built and start contributing green energy to the Thunder Bay grid,” MacKenzie said. “We’re impatient too, but we respect that there is an extensive approval process beforehand.”
This is not the first time the project has landed before the courts.
In 2010, after city council refused to approve turbine locations, essentially stalling the turbine farm in its tracks, Horizon Wind Inc. launched a $126-million suit against the City of Thunder Bay. The legal action was later dropped when council backed down.
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