A provincial government decision to allow Suncor Energy to change its Cedar Point wind energy proposal, without holding a public meeting, is being questioned in Plympton-Wyoming.
Suncor is awaiting provincial environmental approval to build a 46-turbine wind farm in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. The company recently filed changes to its plans for a collector line, access road, transmission line route, as well as revising a temporary staging area and updating a noise assessment report.
Suncor said the changes addressed comments in the province’s technical review of the project, and also moves a planned transmission line to avoid a newly evaluated, provincially significant wetland.
No changes were made to any of the proposed turbine locations.
Darlene Jarvis, who lives on Michigan Line near Camlachie, said a notice Suncor placed in newspapers described the changes as minor but she believes the company should hold an open house so residents can review the information and ask questions.
“The changes do not have the potential to result in increased negative environmental impacts,” said Lindsay Davidson, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE.)
Because of that, the ministry only required Suncor to publish a notice about the changes in local newspapers, post them on the company’s Web site, and send the notice to everyone on the project’s mailing list.
Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said a public meeting was deemed as not required.
“They’re deeming it minor, as if saying, ‘Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. It will all be good.’
“I’m a little skeptical.”
Kristen Rodrigues, a resident of Blue Point Drive in Plympton-Wyoming, wrote to the ministry saying she also believes Suncor should be required to hold public meetings.
“Otherwise it would seem the MOE and Suncor are not even looking at the public’s interests and have been sloppy in their attempts to state they have been diligent in providing the public notice of the changes,” she says in a letter to Nick Colella, a senior project evaluator with the ministry.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper said town council hasn’t taken a position yet on whether or not more public meetings should be held. The project changes are being reviewed by town staff and its lawyers.
Jarvis also pointed out a report about the changes Suncor posted online included cover sheets listing it as the “Amherst Island Wind Energy Project” instead of Cedar Point, raising questions about whether or not the rest of the information is accurate.
Vaillant called that “an administrative error” and all of the information in the report is about the Cedar Point project.
“We understand this error may have confused some community members and we apologize for that,” he said.
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