The group opposed to a wind energy development has taken its fight personal.
In a letter Tuesday to Glen Murray, the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Association to Protect Amherst Island explained fears of one family living on the islands.
Under Windlectric’s current proposal, Brian and Eva Little’s home on the Second Concession will see three 155-metre-tall wind turbines built on the north, south and west sides of their property.
The letter, complete with personal photographs, described the family as moving to their current home to “raise their family in a friendly, peaceful environment.”
“Then the Ontario Government introduced the Green Energy Act and the Littles’ lives changed dramatically for the worse,” the letter stated. “Not only did Windlectric propose to blanket the Island with wind turbines, the company plans to make life hell, specifically for the Littles.”
The personal appeal was the result of a “spontaneous and impassioned” plea Eva Little made during an Oct. 5 fundraising event.
“Her words brought tears to the eyes of many in the room,” association member Debbie Barrett wrote in an email to the Whig-Standard.
“The Association has not changed its strategy and continues to convey to decision-makers at all levels that Amherst Island is the wrong place for turbines,” Barrett added. “The lack of responsiveness by the Ministry and by Windlectric to Eva’s requests is symbolic of the broken process.”
Along with the turbines, the proposed development could see a transformer station built within half a kilometre of the family’s house. The proposal could also see a cement plant built adjacent to the transformer station within 800 metres of Amherst Island Public School.
The letter included an excerpt from a report from the Loyalist Township planning and development director, who said the cement plant would affect an area within 1,000 metres and had the potential to create noise, odour, vibrations and dust.
APAI argued the turbine development would significantly harm residents’ health and property values on the island.
“It is outrageous and unconscionable that she and her family should be expected, by those who support Windlectric’s plans, to live under the onerous conditions described above,” the letter stated.
“To make matters worse, the family cannot move, for those same conditions will render their home unsaleable. No one will want to live there. Their equity will be lost and they will not be able to afford to move elsewhere.”
APAI is calling on the provincial government to reject or greatly alter the Windlectic project.
Late last year, two property owners at opposite ends of southern Ontario were told their property values were not lowered by the construction of wind turbines close to their homes.
Wolfe Island residents Ed and Gail Kenney in 2011 unsuccessfully challenged the assessed property value of their home before a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation tribunal, claiming it had been devalued since the construction of the 86-turbine project on the island.
Goderich landowner Dave Hemingway got a similar outcome from MPAC concerning a reassessment of his home and 1.6 hectares (four acres) of land.
APAI is in the midst of appealing a pair of decisions made in August by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
The ministry rejected requests by APAI for a full environmental assessment of the TransCanada Napanee Generating Station and an assessment of the cumulative impact of four planned or existing industrial projects near the island,
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