MANVERS TWP – Opponents waiting for a decision from the Province about another controversial wind energy project in Manvers Township may have another battle on their hands.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change announced Thursday (May 7) that “a Renewable Energy Approval was issued to Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd. to construct a wind farm within the Township of Manvers, in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The facility is known as the Settlers Landing Wind Park.”
On Friday (May 8) Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble said this project is “right next door to Pontypool.”
She noted the opponents who launched a legal appeal in 2013 of wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind project with the Environmental Review Tribunal are reviewing the grounds to appeal the Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd. wind farm. No decision to appeal has been made.
The Settlers Landing Wind Park is a different company’s project, but, Coun. Stauble said when the Province approves one company’s wind farm, others usually follow.
The Province announced they received many comments from the City and local residents, resulting in numerous conditions for Settlers Landing.
Some of them are:
· at least six months prior to decommissioning, obtain direction from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with respect to restoring the project location to its previous agricultural capacity;
· carry out an acoustic emission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment and the wind turbine generators,
· comply with the ministry’s noise emission limits at all times,
· employ best management practices for stormwater management and sediment and erosion control during construction, installation, use, operation, maintenance and retiring of the facility,
· design, construct and operate a spill containment facility for the transformer substation,
· implement the post-construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring,
· implement the post-construction Natural Heritage woodland rehabilitation protocol and monitoring programs,
· obtain any required authorizations necessary under the Endangered Species Act.
Manvers Wind Concerns, the Buddhist Cham Shan Temple and Cransley Home Farms Ltd. led the challenge to the Sumac Ridge wind farm, which would have seen two of five mega-turbines on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In a hearing that dragged on for more than a year, the Tribunal ruled against the appellants earlier this year, upholding the approval.
The appellants opted to apply for a judicial review, which means the Minister reviews the matter and renders a decision.
That appeal was filed in March and Coun. Stauble said while the Minister’s office requested more time, there has been no word on when the decision will be announced.
Coun. Stauble noted the process was lengthy, costly and included volunteer work by dozens of people with expertise concerning the Moraine. But, she said appealing to the Tribunal about Settlers Landing project may be even more important.
“Settlers Landing is right next door to Pontypool, a residential area,” she said. “It includes five turbines, and 100 per cent of them; all five would be on the Moraine.”
Coun. Stauble said the Suman Ridge review is not necessarily a factor in a decision to appeal Settlers Landing. Those opposed to wind projects in Manvers don’t want any wind turbines on the Moraine; its’ importance to southern Ontario is too great.
She explained that while each wind energy project has its own issues, “they all have a cumulative effect on the environmemt and the community.”
Coun. Stauble said a primary concern is the Moraine itself. The Province is currently reviewing several Conservation Plans in many municipalities, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation is among them. She attended a meeting in Clarington on May 4.
“A lot of tremendous work has gone into these plans,” she told This Week. “The forest cover, the water quality; you can see the difference protecting the Moraine has made.” Allowing huge wind turbines, especially since there is so much controversy about their impact on humans, wildlife and the environment, she said, puts protected areas at risk.
“It is undoing all the good work” that has gone before.
Coun. Stauble said City resident David Bridges also attended the meeting and called for a moratorium on wind farms, as previously happened when the Moraine Conservation Plan was being developed. The panel, she said, “hemmed and hawed” at that suggestion.
“For a government that wants to portray itself as environmental heroes, they are dismantling all the good work that has been previously done” to protect the Moraine.
The approval notice is posted on the Environmental Registry and a link can be found at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTIzMTgy&statusId=MTg4MjI2&language=en
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