The County’s mayor is disappointed the Ontario Energy Board has approved a 28-kilimeter high-voltage transmission line to connect wpd Canada’s White Pines wind turbine project to the electricity grid. wpd Canada proposes 29 turbines in Athol and South Marysburgh.
“I’m disappointed in the decision of the OEB,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “No regard was given to the municipal concern about the route and road use agreement, all of which wpd informed the OEB that those concerns and issues were not within their authority. So basically, wpd has no regard to addressing municipal and residents’ concerns.”
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) calls the OEB approval absurd “without prior regard to impacts on County heritage landmarks, environmentally sensitive habitat and residential property structural damage without prearranged property owner agreements.”
The transmission line, to be installed almost entirely in County road right-of-ways, extends from Royal Road south of Milford to the Elmbrook transformer station north of Picton.
“County landmarks impacted during construction of the line include Milford Black Creek Valley ANSI, Millenium Trail, Waring’s Creek Watershed, Big Swamp provincially significant wetland and the round-a-bout at Loyalist Parkway and Cty Rd. 1,” said Paula Peel, of APPEC. “The transmission line, which wpd says will be buried, also poses a threat to the stands of century-old maples lining Crowes Road and Maypul Layn Road.”
Peel added that extensive excavation needed to bury the line is expected to cause structural damage to residential properties, including wells, heritage homes and some of the 600+ structures along the route.
“wpd has provided little solid evidence about the transmission line,” Peel said. “Repeated requests for information and studies needed for a full assessment of the project have been ignored.”
“Essentially, the OEB has approved our plan to bury the line underground along the entire route (except the bridge crossings),” said Kevin Surette, wpd manger of communications. “The plan includes underground routing for the section of the line along Maypul Layn Road, with input from certified arborists, that will not have a negative impact on surrounding trees.”
Surette noted the decision is contingent upon wpd obtaining all the necessary approvals, including the REA.
Mayor Quaiff said wpd is masking itself behind the Green Energy Act the province created.
“Is this what we are to expect from a corporate citizen if they are awarded their approval?” said Quaiff. “I call upon the province to reject the wpd application to install turbines in PEC.”
“APPEC strongly objects to an OEB approval process that does not properly protect residents, residential property and the environment,” said Peel.
The Alliance also calls on the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to reject the renewable energy application for the White Pines Wind Project.
The County, last spring, stated the White Pines Project Heritage Assessment Report by Stantec Consulting was “incomplete and deficient” and “lacks appropriate mitigation measures”. The County requested 17 matters be addressed.
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