STELLA – The group fighting a wind energy project on Amherst Island is objecting to how the company building it is communicating with the public.
Algonquin Power’s subsidiary Windlectric is holding the first Community Liaison Committee meeting Wednesday night on the island.
The creation of the committee was among the conditions the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) put on the company when it gave conditional approval to the project in August 2015.
The committee is to meet on a monthly basis during construction of the 26-turbine, 75-megawatt project, and at least two of its meetings each year will be open to observation by the public.
Among the committee’s roles will be to review the log of all complaints about the project and the resolution of those complaints.
But the Association to Protect Amherst Island says the committee is stacked with people who support the project.
“In principle, MOECC’s condition could compel the wind developer to act as a good corporate citizen, listening and acting on residents’ concerns. However, the committee is composed of eight members, five of whom either benefit financially from the project or are employed by Algonquin or the Ontario government,” the group stated Tuesday. “Members of the general public are granted the permission to ‘view’ the proceedings but will not be allowed to participate in the discussion.”
“The composition of the [committee], which does not include ‘as many groups as possible,’ is another example of the bias of the Green Energy Act regulations that allows for ‘tick box’-style government oversight of wind developer commitments,” the group stated.
According to a notice published by the company, the committee was “open primarily to residents living within one kilometre of the project, but also to those who have an interest in construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the project.”
Members of the committee are expected to “communicate with friends and neighbours, provide updates, and seek feedback, acting as a voice for both your community and the project.”
The committee is to meet Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Amherst Island Community Centre at 5955 Front Rd.