Talk of a possible protest and an injunction circled a Milford Town Hall meeting Tuesday night as residents voiced their concerns on a wind proponent’s intention to begin construction work this weekend.
The municipality recently denied a Road Users Agreement with WPD White Pines stating the necessary entrance and building permits weren’t in place for the nine turbine wind farm destined to be built on private properties in South Marysburgh. The company’s amended plans to build transmission lines above ground also need to be approved. Prior to that the company had threatened legal action if the County didn’t approve the RUA by September 7. The threat came after the municipality said it was deferring the agreement to seek more information from the Ontario Energy Board on outstanding approvals.
This forced about 100 residents to pack the small town hall to ask a table of panelists including the mayor, MPP Todd Smith, legal counsel and the OPP about next steps.
Mayor Robert Quaiff said for now the County will wait and see if WPD moves their equipment in on September 10.
South Marysburgh ward councillor Steve Ferguson, who called the meeting, agreed the County has to stay vigilant and ‘make sure WPD complies with all of the rules.’
A few residents spoke out saying the delay in permits seemed like stalling.
“I feel like that is a delay tactic,” said one women. “I’m looking for a solution.”
After a series of lengthy hearings fueled by the resident John Hirsch and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County earlier this year, the Environmental Review Tribunal approved nine of the proposed 27 turbines stating they would cause irreversible harm to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle and little brown bat.
Angela Miller and her husband said if the turbines to go up they are worried about how they will affect the livelihood of their dairy farm on Maypul Layn Road.
Former South Marysburgh councillor Barb Proctor also spoke to the concern of noise for those who live in nearby areas where the turbines are destined.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, who has testified during several wind hearings, answered Proctor by stating the County should get ahead of the situation and and draft a bylaw to address noise.
“It’s not called wind turbine syndrome,” said the former advisor to Health Canada and the Minister of Health. “It is now called Vibroacoustic disease.”
VAD is a systemic pathology caused by excessive exposure to low frequency noise.
“There are health issues not just with construction but with operation too,” said McMurtry.
Garth Manning suggested the County get another legal opinion to fight the Ontario Frustrated Contract Act and should apply in this case forcing another court battle.
County lawyer Dave Demille argued that it was unlikely the court would see this situation as ‘frustrated’ as the onus is on the company to proceed and they have stated they intend to. “It’s not entirely destroyed,” said Demille.
Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County president, Orville Walsh informed the crowd that APPEC is currently ‘researching all legal tools at its disposal to make sure this project is not going ahead.’
“Stay tuned,” Walsh smiled.
Our newsroom has reached out to WPD and is awaiting further comment.