North Bay is opposing a wind farm proposal north of the city due to its proximity to Jack Garland Airport.
Mayor Al McDonald, who’s scheduled to meet Tuesday with Ontario’s Environment Minister, Glen Murray, said he will be requesting that the province deny Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.’s proposal for a wind farm on Crown Land in the unorganized Merrick Township.
McDonald said the wind farm, which is separate from a proposed project in Mattawan Township, would fall within a 15-kilometer radius of Jack Garland Airport, reducing safety for all aircraft using the facility.
He said the city needs to protect the airport equipment and flight paths, noting the wind farm may also jeopardize the city’s efforts to attract new space and aerospace firms to its industrial business park.
The mayor pointed to the multi-million-dollar investment to resurface the airport’s 10,000-foot runway and develop its industrial business park, suggesting the wind farm proposal council be a barrier to the city’s economic development efforts.
He noted open air space was one of the factors Swiss Space Systems (S3), which plans to test and launch sub-orbital satellites in the city, selected North Bay.
“We have invested a lot of money up there,” said McDonald, noting the city recently learned of the proposal. “There could be a significant impact to the city.”
Innergex spokesman Francois Morin could not be reached Friday for comment about the project or its status.
The Quebec-based firm is also looking to build wind farm in the Mattawa area comprised of as many as 60 turbines with an anticipated capacity of 150 megawatts. Referred to as the Nodinosi Wind Project, the proposal involves a partnership between Innergex and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.
A public meeting regarding the project will be held Monday at the Mattawa Senior Citizens Club from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
McDonald is meeting with Murray during the combined Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads conference in Toronto, which runs from Sunday until Wednesday.
The mayor will also be meeting with Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro during the conference about the possibility of locating an MNR fire management headquarters at the airport industrial park. In addition, he will discuss the Ontario North land Transportation Commission with Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle; and the proposed Cassellholme redevelopment with health ministry officials.
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