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Protection from ‘space port’

NORTH MIDDLESEX – Council has authorized its municipal planner to assist in negotiating permanent neighbourhood protection from the massive hydro transformer and switching station immediately southwest of the hamlet of Nairn.

Calling commercial wind farm developer NextEra Energy’s Parkhill and Evergreen substations a ‘monster rising out of the ground” and a ‘100-acre spaceport’, adjacent property owner Clyde Walton is aiming for a site plan agreement to be registered on title. The beleaguered neighbour says NextEra’s Ben Greenhouse has been open to discussion but Walton is concerned that Greenhouse will be leaving to supervise other projects, those left behind will be unaware of promised safeguards and that NextEra could eventually find another owner for the operation.

North Middlesex Planner Barb Rosser, Mayor Don Shipway and Chief Building Official (CBO) Vic Stellingwerff have joined Nairn area neighbours in a series of discussions with Greenhouse about the substations’ construction explosions, powerful lighting that shines outward and the need for buffering, fencing and control of runoff drainage.

“I thought most of these issues had been dealt with,” Mayor Shipway told Walton at council’s 18 June meeting.

“People under the captain of the ship (Greenhouse) have no idea what he told us,” responded Walton. “Sounds coming from the site are at the volume of a chainsaw.”

Planner Rosser told council, “Clyde’s account is accurate. It has been an exercise in frustration. The key is to get an (site plan) agreement on NextEra and future owners. It gives the municipality authority to go in and make corrections.”

Council passed a motion allowing the municipal planner to remain involved in discussions to negotiate a site plan agreement between the municipality and NextEra Energy. The cost to North Middlesex is not to exceed $10,000.

“If NextEra says no to a site plan agreement, it’s a dead issue,” said Shipway. “It’s going to be a tough sell.”

CBO Stellingwerff told The Banner this past weekend that he expected to issue no later than Wednesday of this week an occupancy permit for the new North Middlesex Shared Services Centre on Parkhill King Street. To facilitate the move, municipal administration, public works and water department offices will be closed on Friday, 4 July and Monday, 7 July.

In the event of an emergency on those days, messages recorded on the main office number will be checked and responded to, Chief Administrative Officer Linda Creaghe told The Banner. The Service Ontario office will operate on Friday, 4 July but not on Monday, 7 July.

A delay in delivery of new shelves will force an extension of the Parkhill Library shutdown to Monday, 14 July, said Julie Gonyou, Middlesex County librarian and chief executive officer. The new shared services site will provide weekly service of 40 hours, up from 27 hours at the now vacated Main Street Carnegie Library.