CURVE LAKE -Concerns came on strong from two area First Nations at Tuesday’s hearing on the Sumac Ridge wind turbine project.
Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) vice-chair Heather Gibbs made it clear that the hearing was only intended to hear presentations from the First Nations on the potential negative impacts from the turbines. She has been listening to arguments about the pros and cons of the project for more than two weeks now at the Pontypool Community Centre about the project which reaches into Manvers and Cavan Monghan townships.
Hiawatha representative Diane Sheridan didn’t waste anytime in stating the negative impacts the turbines will have on the land.
“We have a unique compassion for Mother Earth and we fear that the turbines will diminish the land,” she said.
Ms Sheridan went on to say that under Treaty 20, the turbine project infringes on treaty rights and that there was no consultation with the First Nation on the project beforehand.
The turbine company, wpd Canada, had representatives at the hearing but they remained silent throughout.
“This tribunal needs to take into account of the Aboriginal use of the land and water,” Ms Sheridan added.
Brent Whetung, a member of Curve Lake First Nation, has support from the community to speak on their behalf and to reject the decision of the (ERT).
“The fact that WPD did not consult with the First Nations signifies the lack of communication,” he said.
An email sent to wpd from Mr. Whetung in April 2014, stated that he wanted the project to cease immediately until further discussions. The Ministry of Environment has since issued a permit to allow the project to go ahead.
Additional meetings for the ERT are scheduled Dec. 11 and 12 in Pontypool.
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