POINTE AU BARIL – Owners of the Moose Lake Trading Post and Lodge were before township council asking to buy the Highway 69 road allowance in a bid to stop a high-voltage power line from passing by their home and business.
Once Highway 400 is extended, Anne and Rich Kaster said they’ll shut down with the businesses expected to be left on a small service road. They are considering staying to live on the property, but even that is in jeopardy with their health concerns around the proposed Henvey Wind 230 kV transmission line that may pass on what is now the shoulder of Highway 69 in front of their property.
Henvey Inlet Wind is a partnership of the international company Pattern Development and Henvey Inlet First Nation’s Nigig Power Corporation. It is proposing a wind farm on Henvey Inlet First Nation. The electricity would go through a to-be-built transmission corridor to Seguin Township where it will tap into Hydro One’s system.
To bolster their opposition to the line, the Kasters – who wrote the Ontario Energy Board in opposition to the project – applied to the Archipelago to buy their road allowance and made a deputation on May 19 to council on the matter.
The day before the Kasters were before council, the OEB granted Henvey Inlet Wind leave to construct the transmission line. The permission is void May 18, 2018, unless construction is underway.
In a letter to the OEB dated April 3, Henvey Inlet Wind’s counsel said the Kasters’ property is not needed for the project.
That doesn’t change anything for Rich, with the route still not finalized.
On May 19, Archipelago council decided it didn’t have enough information on the transmission project and potential health risks. Instead, it asked staff to arrange for further presentations from Henvey and someone on the health impact of the line.
Staff suggested the township sell the road allowance, but grant Henvey Inlet Wind an easement over it.
“I would caution the township against being used as leverage between Henvey and an individual property owner. You are choosing sides,” said Cale Henderson, manager of development and environmental services.
He pointed out that the township is on record as supporting, and urging, potential fibre Internet cable on the poles.
Coun. Tom Lundy spoke at the May meeting against requiring an easement for the transmission line as part of the sale.
“They (the company) have the money, they’ve got the power. If they need to go around the property they can … Why we are considering a third party is beyond me,” he said.
Coun. Bert Liverance suggested council also hear from Henvey Inlet Wind.
“Until I see what the proposed route is, I have a hard time understanding what the impact is up and down the corridor,” he said.
The position was supported by Reeve Peter Ketchum.
Council also requested staff bring in an expert to talk about the health impacts of the line.
“I can tell you right now, Health Canada will say there are no problems with it, no legal issues,” Rich Kaster said at the meeting.
In a later interview, Kaster said that in his research, “there most certainly are health issues.”
“I would like to think the township would go with the rights and wishes of a ratepayer as opposed to the wishes of a private enterprise pushing their way through the region,” said Kaster, reiterating a sentiment given during the council meeting.
Henvey Inlet Wind has the legal ability to expropriate land for the transmission line.
Pattern partnered with Nigig in 2014.