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East Oxford group files FOI for wind farm details  

Credit:  By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes | Monday, April 14, 2014 | www.woodstocksentinelreview.com ~~

The East Oxford Community Alliance wants to know how the Ministry of the Environment has been handling the Prowind Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm file.

The alliance (EOCA) has filed Freedom of Information requests and asked the Ontario Ombudsman to look into it because of the number of changes that have been made to the project without due process for the public to participate.

Joan Morris, spokesperson for EOCA, said one issue is the “substantive changes” to the project since it was first filed with the MOE and considered complete and accurate.

“A change to the project area was announced to the public only four days before the application was deemed complete by the Ministry on February 7, 2014,” Morris also said in a press release. “Apart from a cover page from the Ministry of Environment, none of the documents for public review and comment were modified to account for the changes.”

Morris said this left hundreds of pages of irrelevant information in the project proposal, with the public left to figure out what information remained relevant.

“It’s impossible for the public to even know what this will look like,” she said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

In the EOCA’s letter to the Ontario Ombudsman’s office, the group also points out that it has identified many inaccuracies, deficiencies and out-dated information in the proponent’s documentation.

The ministry deemed the Renewable Energy Approval documentation for the Gunn’s Hill project to be complete despite a change in the project announced only four days before posting it to the Environmental Registry.

“This is unacceptable,” the letter states.

“Our legal advice suggests that it appears the Ministry of Environment has not only allowed this to occur, but has participated in this process by providing the developer with a cover letter absolving the developer of the obligation to revise documents prior to… posting,” the letter further states, before asking the Ombudsman’s office to investigate the process of decision-making the MOE uses regarding renewable energy projects.

This action by EOCA comes at the same time Wind Concerns Ontario sent its own letter asking the Ombudsman to investigate aspects of the approval process for wind power projects that have been deemed complete but do not include all information.

Source:  By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes | Monday, April 14, 2014 | www.woodstocksentinelreview.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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