JOHNSTOWN – With about five weeks to go in the estimated time it’ll take to transfer remaining turbine components from storage at Port of Johnstown to installation site in North Stormont, manufacturer Enercon has apologized in advance for any inconvenience to local motorists.
Because the tower sections and blades are so large and cumbersome, the delivery process via specially adapted flatbeds can be disruptive. In a notice, area residents were informed that by the last week of October, the storage yard at the port would be empty.
Delivery by ship into Johnstown began two years ago to accommodate the 29-turbine Nation Rise Wind Farm developed by EDP Renewables. Marred by controversy, the project came to a grinding halt late last year after the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks determined it would be harmful to bat colonies. It was reinstated last April by the Ontario Court of Justice and has been gearing back up ever since.
Always open about progress being made, EDP said following the court decision it would take time to get up to full speed once again.
Five months later, the company’s posted progress report, which includes a caution to be alert to resuming deliveries, points out that cranes are being mobilized, turbine pre-assembly is underway, components are being erected, and tower wiring is being conducted. The EDP site includes a handy detailed map of the component delivery route.
With Nation Rise equipment finally being cleared from the port, the occasion recalls Edwardsburg/Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau using the long-term storage success as proof the municipally-owned facility did the right thing in expanding its so-called laydown space by several acres just in time to receive the EDP cargo. The contract with Enercon was hailed then as a “proud day for our entire community.”
Meanwhile, back at the installation end, North Stormont council continues to grapple with what one councillor called the “hot topic” of automated fire suppression in each turbine, an expensive add-on which both the company and township deputy fire chiefs claim to be unnecessary.
The same group of residents which fought against the project is demanding fire suppression in a petition now containing 300 names.
However, at a recent meeting council voted 3-2 in a recorded vote to accept a report from municipal administration which puts a damper on compulsory fire suppression on grounds there’s insufficient evidence to warrant it. Mayor Jim Wert observed the topic could be revisited again if necessary as it has been several times over the past two years.
Through the decision, council effectively has opted out of implementing a fire suppression bylaw.
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