DRESDEN – To put it politely, Theo Heuvelmans doesn’t believe the results of a yet-to-be-seen study that says there are no bats in a 36-acre woodlot on his property near here.
As of Friday, Heuvelmans still hadn’t heard or received any information about what biologists found after they went through his woodlot several times last spring and summer ahead of the North Kent 1 industrial wind farm project which is about to be built nearby by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.
However, he was astounded when The Chatham Daily News informed him on Friday that the newspaper had received a response that no bats were found in the area.
“They’re telling me there’s no bats here? I can’t believe it,” Heuvelmans said.
“The study found there were no bats detected on his property,” according to an e-mail The Daily News received from Pattern Energy’s media spokesperson.
The e-mail also noted the firm that completed the study will be reaching out to Heuvelmans to discuss their findings with him.
The Daily News has requested a copy of the study or to be able to speak with someone about it.
Heuvelmans recently contacted The Daily News after growing frustrated that repeated calls to try to get information about the study have not been returned.
For the past five years he has had to put up a bamboo curtain and a screen to the entrance of the alcove that is part of the entrance to his home, because it attracts so many bats.
“This is the only way I could keep them out,” Heuvelmans said.
He initially refused a request by the wind farm developers to have his woodlot be studied. However, he noted company officials with AECOM Canada, an engineering consulting firm hired by the wind developers to study his woodlot, persisted and told him if bats were present it could impact where the turbines are built.
Heuvelmans agreed, hoping the presence of the bats would result in the wind turbines being constructed further from his woodlot.
However, judging from roads recently built on nearby fields, it appears two turbines will each be constructed within 300-400 metres of the woodlot – one on the west side and another to the north.
Heuvelmans said he put up several bat houses in the woodlot and nearby meadow about a year ago, with the hopes of moving the bats away from his home. He also admits he hoped it would help ensure the turbines would be built farther from the woodlot.
Heuvelmans also said he was told if bats were found in the woodlot, the turbines could be shut down at night to accommodate that.
He is worried that the turbines will negatively impact the wildlife living there, noting great horned owls are regularly seen flying from the woodlot to another nearby bush.
Heuvelmans questions why the turbines can’t be built farther way from woodlots. He would also like to see the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, which is purchasing a 15 per cent stake in North Kent 1, take a more active role in protecting these kinds of areas.
However, the approvals for industrial wind farms are provided through the Green Energy Act, which is under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario.
[rest of article available at source]
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