West Perth council denied a request to improve, or widen, two rural sideroad intersections which would help in the transportation of wind turbine components at their July 28 meeting.
The request was from Dillon Consulting and asked to allow for increased weight and truck movement just north of Highway 8 near Dublin, around Line 39 and west of Road 179 – a county boundary road between Huron and Perth counties.
The improvements would have aided in the transportation of wind turbines to their location in Huron East for the St. Columban Wind Project, a 15-turbine 33 mega-watt project.
“That is the stance that we’re taking at this time because I think they have better options,” said West Perth Mayor Walter McKenzie afterwards.
“Our roads aren’t built to handle that heavy traffic – there’s a highway and a county road that is designed to handle it. If they have to do any alterations, they might do it to those roads,” he continued.
The trucks needed to transport the wind turbines cannot make the turns on those roads, noted McKenzie, without the improvements.
“We can’t stop them, they’re public roads but certainly we can have input on somebody that wants to make alterations to our roads, and without those alterations they can’t make the turn,” he said.
In July 2013, the Ministry of the Environment granted a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for the St. Columban Wind Project in Huron East.
The area and farms where the wind turbines will be located border West Perth, just north of Dublin.
Last year, West Perth joined 89 other municipalities to declare themselves an unwilling host for wind turbines.
“We would not really want any wind turbines in our municipality,” said McKenzie. “To my knowledge we don’t have any but they are right on the edge (between West Perth and Huron East).”
Carol Ryan, a resident of West Perth and a former long-time resident of Huron East, attended the July 28 meeting. She is also a member of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) and said “we’ll see where it goes” in referring to the motion passed by council.
“They (West Perth) can say no but does the wind turbine company have to listen? It’s a public road.”
Construction of the wind turbines, including footings and foundations, is expected to begin the first week of September.
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