Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff is not impressed with Hydro One’s efforts to begin construction of a connection point for the White Pines Industrial Wind Turbine project.
Quaiff said Hydro One plans to build a structure on wpd Canada-owned land near Gorsline Road, north of Picton are premature.
“I’m not impressed with the way this is unfolding and I think Hydro One needs to cool their jets a little,” he said. “This matter is still before the (Environmental Review) Tribunal and planning to construct a connection point has me wondering if they know something we don’t. I would think it more appropriate for them to wait until a decision has been made before they proceed with any of this.”
While it was initially reported Hydro One wanted to begin construction of a tower on the Gorsline Road site as early as December, Quaiff said recent correspondence from Hydro One officials said they are only going to proceed with the planning for the connection facility and have not targetted a specific starting date for construction.
Hydro One informed County officials the tower will be approximately 36.6 meters in height and will connect the existing 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line (Circuit X22) to White Pines Wind Farm’s switching station. Access will be accomplished using Hydro One’s existing right-of-way (RoW) and White Pines Wind Farm’s property. The 27-turbine project near the south shore of Prince Edward County is currently on hold after an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) halted site preparation in April, ruling construction would cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life and habitat.
wpd Canada received approval for the development in July 2016. A subsequent appeal by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County based on harm to Blandings turtles and Little Brown Bats was successful, however wpd received permission in March, 2016 to commence with site preparation. After a Blandings turtle was spotted in the construction area, the Tribunal ordered clearing stopped. Both sides are waiting to meet with the Tribunal again too see if wpd Canada can offer an appropriate remedy.
The White Pines development is not the first to run into a road block in the turtles.
This summer the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ were finally successful in their battle to Gilead Power’s Renewable Energy Approval revoked for a nine-turbine wind project. At the time Tribunal officials ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to Blandings turtles and their habitat
Quaiff remains steadfast in his opinion nothing should proceed until the ERT gears remedy solutions from wpd Canada and reaches a final decision.
“There is too much going on and I just think it’s inappropriate to do anything until we know what that decision is,” he said. “I know they were hoping to have that hearing sometime before the end of November and although that’s not likely to happen, I wouldn’t think it will be too much longer now. At this point it’s not going to hurt anyone to wait for the Tribunal.”
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