Organizers say about 200 people attended an Aug. 24 meeting here of a new group opposing a rumoured wind turbine project in the area.
Lee Anne Andriessen of North Perth says Concerned Citizens of Wallace-Mapleton (CCWM) was formed in response to efforts by Elexco, a “land service” company hired to assemble leases for a wind project planned by a European-based company known as WPD.
“We know they’re making the rounds in Wallace Township,” she stated.
Despite the inclusion of Mapleton in the group’s name, Andriessen says officials “don’t have any totally confirmed reports” of the company approaching people from Mapleton, although they heard cards and information were delivered to residences in the township.
Mapleton Mayor Neil Driscoll said he attended the Aug. 24 meeting, along with several other councillors, at the invitation of organizers.
“I haven’t heard that they are approaching anyone in Mapleton yet,” said Driscoll.
He added the meeting was “really well attended” with “a huge showing of Wallace residents.” He noted, “there was a few from Mapleton too,” primarily from the eastern portion of the municipality bordering former Wallace Township, which is a part of North Perth.
If Mapleton residents had been approached, Driscoll said he was confident township officials would have heard about it.
Andriessen said CCWM members believe WPD is planning to make an application for a local wind farm through an RFP process set to begin in January.
WPD spokesman Kevin Surette confirmed Elexco is doing work for WPD as part of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process, the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) competitive process for large renewable energy projects in the province.
“It’s in the very early stages,” Surette told the Advertiser. “We’re prospecting basically … We’re just looking to areas … where we might be able to put a project.”
Surette said he could not confirm if anyone at Elexco has approached Mapleton Township residents. He also stressed that contacting area property owners “doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a project in the area.”
He said his company is looking at “a few” different locations in the province.
Andriessen said an existing transformer station in Palmerston that is able to receive power from turbines means “Wallace is an excellent fit for the reception of power to move that forward and also Mapleton is very close, so those two regions are highly ideal to move a project forward.”
Regardless of which municipality turbines are located in, Andriessen said the impact would be felt throughout the area.
“We feel very strongly that we do need to create a partnership together,” she said. “For me, I’m only one sideroad away from Mapleton and that’s not very far away. I’m sure, as neighbours, they wouldn’t appreciate me putting up a turbine in Wallace and I think that’s a reciprocal kind of expectation that we work together.”
While the LRP II qualification submission deadline for developers is Sept. 8, qualified applicants won’t be notified until November – and Surette suggested that may be delayed until mid-December.
Developers whose projects are qualified will then have about a year to submit contracts for their bids, with the IESO then taking several months to decide on the winning bids.
CCWM is planning another meeting on Sept. 6 at 8pm at the Maryborough Community Centre in Moorefield.
The purpose of the meeting, which will feature guest speaker Warren Howard, is to provide citizens with information and attract new group members.
– With files from Chris Daponte
Vol 49 Issue 36
September 2, 2016
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