Province gives greenlight to wind farm; Niagara region Wind Corp’s turbines to be largest in North America
The largest turbines in North America will soon rise over West Lincoln.
On Thursday, the provincial government announced it had approved Niagara Region Wind Corporation’s renewable energy application to operate a 77-wind turbine project in the West Lincoln area. The announcement was made the same day that Health Canada released results of its study into the impacts on human health from industrial wind turbines which concluded with the findings of Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, in 2010.
Health Canada’s assurances however do little to calm the fears of those living in the project’s vicinity.
“The real problem is the health issues for the people in the footprint of the project,” said Catherine Mitchell, who herself lived in the project area before moving to Welland. She is a board member with Mothers Against Wind Turbines which will hold an emergency meeting as it now has 14 days to launch an appeal.
“It’s been approved by the Ministry of Environment but not by the people impacted by this decision,” Mitchell added, noting there were 2,572 comments on the application listing concerns ranging from property values and health impacts to rising energy costs and environmental impacts. “The concerns go on and on for pages.”
Mitchell, who is most concerned with low frequency sound and has been studying it, said she was shocked and awed by the government’s approval.
West Lincoln Mayor Doug Joyner said he was also surprised to see the approval come this soon.
“We expected this to come through but we didn’t expect it until after Christmas,” said Joyner. “It’s a little sooner than expected.”
The ministry’s approval doesn’t come without stipulations however, and Joyner said the township would do what it can to ensure NRWC adheres to the rules and regulations.
As a result of comments received by the municipality and local residents a condition of the approval requires Niagara Region Wind Corporation to:
• not construct or operate more than seventy-seven out of the eighty wind turbine generators identified in the approval
• comply with the ministry’s noise emission limits at all times
• carry out an acoustic emission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment at five receptors
• carry out an acoustic emission audit of the acoustic emissions produced by the operation of two of the wind turbine generators
• manage stormwater, and control sediment and erosion during and post construction
• develop and implement a pre- and post-construction ground water monitoring program
• carry out specific items if foundation dewatering or water takings by tanker exceed 50,000 L/day
• apply the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Operational Statement, if during construction, waterbodies that were previously not identified are discovered
• design, construct and operate a spill containment facility for each of the Transformer Substations
• implement the pre and post construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring
• undertake the supplementary monitoring program discussed with Environment Canada and determine next steps as part of the program including the implementation of mitigation measures in response to any potential unanticipated adverse effects
• ensure that activities requiring authorizations under the Endangered Species Act are not commenced until authorizations are in place
• create a Community Liaison Committee with members of the public and applicant
• undertake ongoing Aboriginal consultation and fulfill all commitments made by it
• prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to the upper and lower tier municipalities, and
• notify the ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility.
A representative of NRWC was not immediately available for comment. Check back for updates.
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