MILLHAVEN – Fears of water and soil contamination are driving opposition to a request to use a property along Lake Ontario for part of the Amherst Island wind energy project.
Invista is seeking permission to change the certificate of property use for land on the south side of Bath Road for the laying of underground cable to transmit electricity to a switch station, and the use of an existing access road to transport materials to and from a temporary mainland dock.
The opportunity for the public to comment on the change of use for the park ended on Thursday and the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) has submitted that the work proposed for the property could disturb contaminants already present in the area.
The Invsta property on the north side of Bath Road is a former industrial site with known areas of contamination.
The concern is that burying an underground cable will provide a route for contaminants to move to the south side of the road.
In a report from XCG Consulting Ltd., an environmental engineering company, APAI argues that it is not known yet if the trench that needs to be dug for the underground cable will affect existing Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APECs) or Areas of Environmental Concern (AECs).
The report also outlines concerns about how contaminated ground water, erosion and sediment will be controlled.
APAI’s lawyers, Paul Le Vay and Justin Safayeni, described the application “woefully incomplete” and called on the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to deny the change-of-use application until the company provides more information.
“Given the deficiencies in the material provided by Invista, the only reasonable decision in these circumstances is for the director to deny approval of the application – at the very least until further information is provided by Invista in order to remedy the major gaps identified above and in the XCG report,” Le Vay and Safayeni wrote.
“It must be recognized that the stakes of allowing the work outlined in the application to proceed are significant. Even on the incomplete state of the record, it is clear that the risks of soil and groundwater contamination are real. The consequences of such contamination are potentially disastrous, including discharge into Lake Ontario.”
Loyalist Township, which owns land adjacent to the Invista site, also requested additional information about the potential of the proposed construction to spread contaminants between the properties.
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