MATTAWAN – A proposed wind farm in this community could be the first stopped in its tracks, according to Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.
Speaking at a meeting of Mattawan council Thursday, Fedeli said local opposition to the project, including from the Antoine First Nation and the Mattawa-North Bay Algonquins, could mean the Nodinosi project could be the first one defeated.
“We’ve lost about every battle” against wind farms so far, Fedeli said, but “this could be the one that we win.”
The Nodinosi proposal would see the construction of up to 60 industrial wind turbines near Lake Talon, producing up to 150 megawatts of electricity.
But Fedeli said the project makes no economic sense, and will devastate the surrounding area.
The province pays a premium for electricity produced by wind power, he pointed out, but the wind turbines almost exclusively produce power at night, when it isn’t needed. So the province ships the energy to the United States or Quebec, paying the customers to take it because of the agreements in place with electricity producers.
Wind energy receives one of the richest subsidies for energy from the province, and the province locked itself in to 20-year contracts with the producers.
The province also agreed to take the power whenever it’s made. which means Ontario is paying the United States and Quebec $2.6 billion to take the excess power.
But as bad as the economic issues are the environmental issues, Fedeli said.
“You can’t imagine the destruction involved” in the construction of wind farms, he said.
Although Innergex Renewable Energy Inc., the company behind the local project, says it will be able to use existing “bush roads” to get construction materials to the site, that is not realistic.
“There will be trucks by the hundreds flowing through the area,” he said.
Ostrander Point in southern Ontario, the site of one wind farm, “used to be one of the most beautiful places you’ll see,” he said.
But construction of the wind farm “devastated the area,” with trees cut down and roads built to allow access.
The same occurred on Manitoulin Island, where McLean’s Mountain “was torn up because they needed enormous vehicles to bring the turbines in.”
The Nodinosi project, he said, will use the largest turbines manufactured, standing up to 500 feet high.
“That’s taller than many of the towers in downtown Toronto,” he said. “And they will be pouring tonnes and tonnes of concrete for each one of these turbines.”
Wind turbine farms, he said, are “an environmental disaster.”
Mattawan has already approved a resolution opposing the construction of the wind farm in the community.
Mayor Peter Murphy said the community is “not opposed to renewable energy production facilities in our municipality,” but is against the Nodinosi project which will be “placed next to and on top of the pristine lakes and rolling hills that make up the landscape of our township.”
“We are opposed to the environmental damage that construction, clear-cutting and road building will have on our township’s landscape, leaving in its wake, not long-term and sustainable economic development, but rather a few short-term and short-lived employment opportunities.”
Fedeli has organized a town hall meeting on the issue of the Nodinosi project, as well as a proposed project in Merrick Township north of North Bay, for March 24 at the Davedi Club in North Bay.
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
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