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Province concerned about economic impact at Collingwood airport from proposed Stayner wind farm

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is concerned that the wind farm near Stayner proposed by WPD could have an “economic impact,” on the Collingwood Regional Airport.

In a letter obtained by simcoe.com from Mohsen Keyvani, supervisor of team 5 of the environmental approvals branch for the MOECC, sent to Khlaire Parre, director of renewable energy approvals for WPD Canada, the ministry is calling on the company to complete an “economic impact analysis,” by Nov. 9. In his letter, Keyvani said the MOECC expects the analysis to include input and engagement from the Collingwood Regional Airport.

“The MOECC is concerned about the project’s potential economic impacts on the Collingwood Regional Airport resulting from the operational impacts that Transport Canada has indicated will occur at the airport,” Keyvani wrote. “In its comments to the MOECC, Transport Canada has indicated that in order to maintain aviation safety at the airport, if the project were to be implemented, it will be necessary to raise the limits of the instrument approach procedures which may result in impacts on aerodrome operations at the airport.”

This letter came on the heels of one sent by Transport Canada to the MOECC in November 2014.

“In conclusion, based on the information reviewed, it appears there would likely be an operational impact on both the Collingwood and Stayner aerodromes,” wrote Joseph Szwalek, regional director of civil aviation, for the Ontario Region of Transport Canada to Hayley Berlin, manager of service integration environmental approvals access for MOECC. “There are aerodromes in Canada where obstacles are located in proximity to runways, and depending on their location, have continued operation with the establishment of specific procedures, and the marking, lighting and publication of these obstacles. However, it should be noted that such mitigation can result in a decrease in the usability of the Collingwood and Stayner aerodromes. The Department also wishes to emphasize that it is critical that planning and coordination of the siting of obstacles be conducted in conjunction with an aerodrome operator at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Mississauga-based WPD Canada has submitted a proposal to construct eight wind turbines on private property bound by Airport Road, County Road 91, Nottawasaga Concession 6 and Nottawasaga Sideroad 18-19.

The project was accepted as complete by the MOECC in December 2013 but WPD is still waiting on approval.

Kevin Surrette, WPD spokesperson, told Simcoe.com the company has filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto to force the government’s hand.

“They have a service window of six months, once the applications have been deemed complete,” he said. “Obviously, we’d like them to approve it, but at this point we’re just saying ‘please make a decision about our application.’ They’re performing their due diligence to make sure all the information is correct and the applications are good.”

Surrett says the company’s analysis shows both the airport and the wind project could “co-exist.”

“Throughout the project, we’ve engaged an aviation safety expert, we have more than 35 years experience working with Transport Canada, with NAV Canada,” he said. “He did an analysis of our project and the Collingwood airport and he concluded that both our project and the airport could safely co-exist.”