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Turbine fight turns nasty

The fight to keep the Fairview Wind Project out of Clearview Township is turning nasty.

A letter sent to local media from John Beattie of Beattie Brothers Farms Limited to the Enterprise Bulletin as well as two other community newspapers alleging that Kevin Elwood, councillor on Clearview township council was trying to get the Beatties to sell their land in 2010 to him and a group of investors, for as the letter indicates “the opportunity of a lifetime”

The Fairview Wind Project is owned by wpd Canada, part of an international developer of installations for the generation of renewable energies with a focus on wind power.

“This is a wpd spin,” said Elwood. “Yeah, we did want to buy his property, what’s wrong with that.”

According to the letter which was released late Tuesday, Beattie says, “At the initial meeting, Kevin told me he was putting together a consortium of investors (and you know who you are) to finance the purchase of our farmland for the express purpose of erecting wind turbines and creating an income property. ”

“That is a lie,” said Elwood. “This is not fair at all, they have been doing this, this is a wpd spin, we wanted to buy the land to prevent wind turbines from being erected.”

The letter goes on to say that Elwood met with the Beatties up to four times discussing this opportunity and expressed his personal interest in buying ‘the business’.

Beattie goes on to say that after hearing Elwood talk about wpd, that he looked up the company on the internet and contacted them himself.

According to Beattie’s letter:; “It was Kevin who gave me the idea to take part in this renewable energy project and yet he has now spent the past 6 years trying to roadblock (in his own words) “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Elwood questions the timing of the letter. He and his wife, Gail, are to appear before the Environmental Review Tribunal on Friday, the same as the publication date of the Enterprise Bulletin, and challenges why he would have spent more than $1M fighting the project.

“This is just nasty, nasty pool. We met once and expressed an interest and there was no discussion about wind turbines and we had already started building our buildings here (at Clearview Nursery) to prevent the first project , we were already fighting the project and saw it as a way to protect ourselves and the investment group who were already fighting it.”

Elwood challenges that the Beattie family had already optioned their land to wpd Canada before his meeting even took place.

“This letter shows up just before I testify on Friday, what does that tell you?” said Elwood. “We have done everything publicly and through a process and as I said it is your right to sign and it is my right to appeal.”

The members of the tribunal left the meeting rooms Tuesday for a site visit and resumed testimony Wednesday at Collingwood town council chambers. Barring changes to the schedule all other meetings with be held beginning at 10 a.m. at the Collingwood Curling Club.

The protest against the wind turbines has been raging since 2009. The project was given permission by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in February one day before Clearview township had a hearing schedule with the government.

Presently the Environmental Review Tribunal is hearing from eight appellants and eight witnesses including the town of Collingwood, Clearview Township, the County of Simcoe and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) as well as local environmental groups.