Preparing for what they’re calling a ‘David versus Goliath battle’, a grassroots group is organizing opposition to the Otter Creek wind turbine project proposed for north of Wallaceburg.
But money is needed to fight a large wind company. Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns has a GoFundMe account, which has brought in $1,325 of their $50,000 goal. As well, the organization is accepting donations at the TD bank branch on James Street in Wallaceburg.
Earl Towell, a member of the newly formed group, said donations are coming in to prepare for the fight.
“These things aren’t cheap. We’re up against a company with plenty of lawyer services. If we want to be able to put forward any kind of battle against this, we have to hire experts,” Towell said.
Along with lawyers, Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns is looking at hiring expert witnesses.
The ministry is currently undertaking a technical review of the Renewable Energy Approval application for Otter Creek, which will include reviewing and considering all comments made about the company’s REA when it was posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry earlier this year. Once the review is complete the REA can be appealed.
Timelines are very short for appealing the REA. Individuals or groups only have 15 calendar days to file an appeal, once the REA announcement is posted on the Ministry of Energy and Climate Change website.
The Otter Creek wind farm project is scheduled to have 12 wind turbines.
Towell and his wife Violet are looking at the website daily for when the REA can be appealed.
“If a challenge is put forward past the 15 days, the ministry is not allowed to hear it. They are not allowed to accept it,” Towell said.
Violet said it’s imperative that Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns is well-prepared if they appeal the REA.
“The people in this region deserve better than what they’ve received. They didn’t have a say in what happened, yet it’s happening, and happening very close to the town of Wallaceburg,” Violet said.
The group is trying to make the community aware of the project, said Violet. Not only are there concerns about potential problems with water wells, but there are also concerns about noise and low frequency sound levels, due to their large size.
“Everyone in Wallaceburg is going to be affected by this,” said Towell, noting the wind turbines will be close to the town, and 20 per cent of the population is sensitive to infrasound.
“Sleeping sickness, they’re unable to sleep, unable to concentrate. It’s a major impact to people’s health.”
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