Risk of wind turbine construction, operation high: geoscientist

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October 16, 2018

Lawyer Maureen Cartier-Whitney chairs the appeal before the Environmental Review Tribunal. A geoscientist testified that the only mitigation is not to locate the wind turbines on the vulnerable areas where landslides and water contamination are possible.

Re-posted from Wind Concerns Ontario, October 15, 2018

Finch, Ontario — The Nation Rise wind power project, which received Renewable Energy Approval in May, poses a significant risk to people and the environment due to vibration connected to the construction and operation of the wind turbines, a geoscientist told the Environmental Review Tribunal when the citizen-funded appeal resumed today.

Angelique Magee said that the project area is located on the former Champlain Sea and the nature of the soils plus the presence of Leda or “quick” clay represents a “high potential” for landslides. She provided details of landslides that have occurred in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, including one that resulted in loss of life. She also recounted the story of the village of Lemieux which was evacuated due to risk of a landslide because of Leda clay and which subsequently did slide into the Nation River, causing a loss of land, killing fish and destroying fish habitat.

Leda clay is prevalent throughout the region, Magee said. The soil is such that when it is disturbed by vibration, it can become liquid, thus causing the landslides. The risk is high, McGee said, and would pose a serious risk to human health and a serious and irreversible risk to the environment.

She mentioned the fact that Eastern Ontario also has many earthquakes which would add to the risk, due to seismic vibration. She was asked if mitigation is possible, and answered that the proponent is supposed to identify all the wells in the project area, but has not fulfilled that requirement of the Renewable Energy Approval. “There is no assurance of the quantity or quality of water.”

The project area is situated on a “highly vulnerable aquifer” she noted and the wells serving homes, businesses and farms are often shallow or “dug” wells as opposed to drilled wells. The proponents’ information on wells is out of date, she added. The proponent’s lawyer, John Terry, asked if it isn’t true that there are many areas of vulnerable aquifers in Ontario. “Yes,” she responded  “but it is important to consider local characteristics. In this case, that means the presence of the shallow wells, which would be affected.”

A third risk factor is the presence of karst topography which is characterized by fissures and can lead to contamination of groundwater in certain situations, construction vibration included.

The geoscientist was asked about the use of quarries in the proponents’ environmental assessment, which she said was not appropriate. The turbines would cause constant vibration, she said, which different from blasting occasionally.

When asked if the conditions of the REA would prevent harm, Ms Magee said, no. The measures proposed would not necessarily prevent a landslide or contamination of the groundwater, and the proponent has not conducted the proper identification of the water wells in the area, or done a proper assessment of the impact of seismic vibration on the soil and aquifer.

The only mitigation that would ensure no harm to people or the environment would be to not locate turbines in vulnerable areas such as this, McGee said.

In his cross-examination, lawyer Terry suggested that Magee’s interest was simply that she owns property in the Nation Rise project area, and her real concern was the value of her property. “My concerns are primarily based on geology,” she answered, “and yes, if the wind turbines affect the wells then I am concerned that homes will not be sellable.” Mr. Terry also tried to suggest that Ms Magee used Wikipedia as a source of information to which she responded that she used scientific studies and papers to prepare her evidence, the same papers that may have been used in the Wikipedia entry. She said, she may have used the Wikipedia entry I order to use language non-scientists could understand, she said.

The hearing continues October 16, and closing arguments will be presented in Toronto on November 23rd.

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Testimony on danger to well water begins Monday in North Stormont

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October 11, 2018

NStormontWaterSign

The citizen-funded appeal of the 100-megawatt, 30+ industrial-scale wind turbine power project in North Stormont (between Ottawa and Cornwall) resumes Monday with expert testimony from a hydrogeologist. Testimony will centre on the danger to area water supply as a result of vibration from construction and operation of the turbines.

Residents in the Chatham-Kent area of Ontario have already experienced problems connected to wind turbine construction, with dozens of families and farms now without water when turbines were constructed on a highly vulnerable aquifer.

The aquifer in the “Nation Rise” wind power project is also designated “highly vulnerable” and residents are concerned.

One of the conditions of the Renewable Energy Approval given to the project by the Wynne government in its last days before election defeat requires that wells within a prescribed distance of turbines must be identified and the water tested prior to construction. That hasn’t happened, say residents, who note that as far as they can tell, the Spain-based power developer EDP has identified less than half the wells that could be affected.

Now, residents whose wells have not been noted by the developer are posting signs.

“We do not want EDP to be able to say that they did not know that we have wells,” Margaret Benke of Concerned Citizens of North Stormont explains. “They counted only 444 domestic wells within 2 km of a turbine/infrastructure, although there are 816 residences in the same area.  As long as this project continues to proceed, we want our wells taken into consideration for health and safety.”

That count does not include wells used by local farm operations for livestock, which could also be affected by the vibration from construction and turbine operation.

The danger to water supply was one of the principal issues noted in the appeal launched against the project, and appears also to be a concern to the provincial environment ministry, reflected in the conditions in the project approval. In fact, even though the appeal had already begun, the power developer actually filed notice that it was changing the construction method for the wind turbines, which have huge concrete foundations. This material change to the project has never been subjected to public scrutiny and was not part of the company’s documentation on the project.

“It’s not good enough,” says Benke. “We’ve seen what happened to the people in North Kent, some of whom still don’t have any water, not even to take a bath or shower—any damage to the aquifer could be serious and irreversible harm to the environment, and a risk to human health.”

The appeal resumes in Finch at the community centre and arena on Monday morning.

Contact Concerned Citizens of North Stormont here: http://concernedcitizensofnorthstormont.ca/

or

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

NY wind farm problems a sign of what’s ahead for North Stormont?

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September 13, 2018

Residents in Arkwright, NY, are shocked at the noise and environmental disturbance from a wind power project, which just started operation.

The project developer and operator is Spain-based EDP, the same company that runs the South Branch project in Brinston and which is planning the contentious Nation Rise power project in North Stormont.

Residents had hoped the project would be cancelled when the new Ontario government cancelled three other wind power projects, but the IESO claims the project–which is under appeal–has met all its contractual milestones.

Here is the news story with resident complaints of never-ending noise and visual disturbance.

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OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward A large crowd fills the Arkwright Town Hall, as complaints of noise are heard regarding the wind turbines.

ARKWRIGHT– This week saw the powering up of the wind turbines in Arkwright, and the area received its first taste of what a wind farm is like when fully operational.

Despite what many deem as good news, others were not impressed.

“We were up at the lean-tos,” Joni Riggles, a concerned citizen stated. “I am so upset, EDP was asked not to put turbines within viewshot by the county planning board. It is a nightmare, a sonic nightmare, a visual nightmare. It sounded like sneakers in a laundromat. The campground is surrounded, it’s a toxic environment. Who’s going to want to camp here?”

Carrie Babcock, an Arkwright resident said, “It’s like jetliners surrounding my house. It’s a form of noise pollution. It’s awful. How can you help me move away from here? How do I get out of here and still have some property value?”

“I could be sitting on my couch reading and all I have to do is barely crack open a window and it sounds like a jet that’s going by that never goes by. We were told by these people everyday that you’ll never know they’re even there, and if you think that’s not a problem, you’re taking money from the windmill people,” Doug Zeller, another resident added.

“What do you want us to do about it?” Councilman Larry Ball asked. “What do you want us to do about it today?”

“Take them down,” Riggles voiced.

“That’s not going to happen,” Fred Norton, town supervisor, and others on the board responded.

In response to Riggles’ original question, Norton did note that the county gave a release to the developer allowing them to put their windmills there.

Beyond the noise complaints, a letter from Dorothy Fogelman-Holland was read by her husband, citing issues with cell phone interference. Within the letter she claims that there have been times, no matter the day or to who or what type of phone she calls, she’s unable to make a connection. These incidents are sometimes 11 calls being made consecutively and none of them connecting. She states that the issues started in July and are ongoing. Both she and her husband have spoken with their carrier and the carrier has found no issue with their phones or with the towers.

The problem for her is that she undergoes at home dialysis care, and is in need of a constant outside line in case she was to need emergency services. Fogelman-Holland is concerned that others might be in the same predicament with their phones, and that if someone is unable to make a call to 911 that it could be the difference of a life.

Concern was also raised with health issues the turbines might cause. In response Ingalls reminded citizens that, if there’s a complaint or health issue with them, the company has a hot line on the door of the Arkwright Town Hall that has been up throughout construction. If there is an issue they want to hear about it so that they can address it; those messages are checked every day.


There is a fund-raiser/information Brunch event Saturday September 15 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the arena in Finch, hosted by the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont.

Fundraiser-information brunch in Finch this weekend

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Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines proposed, with risk to health, safety, environment and wildlife [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]

September 12, 2018

The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont are hosting a special Country Breakfast-Brunch event this Saturday, September 15 at the Finch Arena, to offer information on the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, and to help raise funds for the citizen appeal of the power project.

The project is neither necessary nor wanted by the community.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has stated that the project has met all the milestones; this is not possible as the project is under appeal, and is subject to a condition-laden Renewable Energy Approval. That approval was granted just three days before the writ for the recent Ontario election was drawn up.

In response to citizen concerns about damage to the aquifer and water supply and health impacts of exposure to noise emissions from the turbines, the power developer, EDPR of Spain, actually changed material aspect of the project in the middle of the appeal. The company announced in documents filed with the Environmental Review Tribunal that it was changed the method of construction to be used for the foundations, and changing the equipment type for the turbines.

The appeal has been halted for the moment but resumes next week with testimony on hydrogeology and risks to the environment.

The Brunch event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information contact: http://concernedcitizensofnorthstormont.ca/

 

 

North Stormont appeal delayed until September

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Witnesses for the community opposition present fresh evidence on harm to people and the environment

 

Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines proposed, with risk to health, safety, environment and wildlife [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]

Ontario Farmer, August 14, 2018

By Tom Van Dusen

The Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into North Stormont’s approved Nation Rise wind turbine project has been adjourned until September 10-11.

The adjournment was called by tribunal chair Maureen Carter-Whitney July 31, with three days remaining on the original two-week schedule.

Key issues in deciding whether authorization given to EDP Renewables for the wind farm should be revoked are that it poses serious risk to human health, or that it could create irrevocable damage to the natural environment.

When the hearing resumes, hydrology will be the main topic. Before it broke, opponents presented their case on the threat to bats and birds posed by the installation of 33 turbines in the farming community south-east of Ottawa, the last wind power project to be approved in Ontario before the recent provincial election.

Expert witness Philippe Thomas, a resident of nearby Chesterville, educated the panel on barotrauma, a phenomenon which can cause the lungs of bats to implode when they fly in low-pressure areas close to turbine blades.

He described a study in Western Canada where it was part of his job to retrieve 400 bat carcasses at the base of wind turbines; only a few showed injuries consistent with being struck by blades, while the majority would have succumbed to barotrauma.

..EDP had a chance to rebut bird and bats arguments with its own expert witnesses. Biologist Andrew Ryckman and Dr Paul Kerlinger concluded the danger to bats would be minima and the impact on songbirds and migratory birds would be equally limited because they’re commonly found closer to shorelines. …

[Opposition coordinator Margaret Benke] indicated opposing witnesses brought forward some fresh points on wind turbine noise and on “debris fling” — the fact that pieces sometimes break off wind mills and are hurled long distances, posing a threat to humans in the area.

A major issue now, she emphasized, is paying the $20,000 debt opponents have accumulated in going against the project while raising more money to continue to fight to the end.

ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

To help with fundraising for the North Stormont appeal, go to Go Fund Me here or send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington Main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0.

Nation Rise wind power project likely to create noise, health problems: WCO president

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Turbines near Strathroy — 1000s of unresolved noise complaints elsewhere in Ontario mean Nation Rise likely to have problems, too. Especially since the developer got to use outdated rules [Photo London Free Press]

(C) ONTARIO FARMER

July 31, 2018

Report by Tom van Dusen

Finch, Ontario — Sitting demurely and speaking quietly, on July 24 the volunteer president of Wind Concerns Ontario blasted the provincial government approach to monitoring industrial wind turbines, accusing it of ignoring complaints about noise, health and other issues, or deferring them with no subsequent action.

Jane Wilson made  her comments while presenting as a witness during an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the Nation Rise wind power project planned for Stormont County. The hearing is scheduled to continue through August 2.

Currently engaged in the approval process, the project is sponsored by EDP Renewables Canada and calls for installation of some 33 turbines in North Stormont farm country delivering a total of 100 megawatts of power that, opponents observe, the province doesn’t need.

Headed by local resident Margaret Benke, opponents were hopeful the new Doug Ford government would cancel Nation Rise just as it did the White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County. But that didn’t happen and opponents’ legal fees and other expenses are up to $20,000. Benke noted that, with Ford in place, Nation Rise isn’t likely to proceed and yet opposing residents are still on the hook for costs.

Government not enforcing the law

A registered nurse, Wilson said Wind Concerns represents a coalition of more than 30 community groups across Ontario.

She emphasized that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change–renamed Environment, Conservation and Parks — has pledged to protect the environment and human health from any turbine side effects.

She cited former Environment Minister Glen Murray congratulating his officials for responding quickly to complaints and enforcing the law. However, Wilson’s review of incident reports obtained through Access to Information indicated the ministry doesn’t respond to all complaints and “does not, therefore, enforce the law.”

No answer to that

Total number of incident reports filed with the ministry between 2006 and 2016 was 4,574, Wilson told Maureen Cartier-Whitney, chair of the one-person panel. Records showed that in more than 50 per cent of formal complaints, there was no ministry response. Another 30 per cent were deferred. “In fact, only one percent received priority response.”

While he asked for some clarification, Paul McCulloch of the ministry’s Legal Services Branch, didn’t dispute Wilson’s basic facts. Representing EDP, lawyer . Grant Worden also offered no challenges to Wilson.

The repetitive nature of various complaints suggests, Wilson continue, that wind power developers are failing to live up to the terms of their approvals by allowing conditions triggering adverse effects including on health, to continue.

“Documented health effects include headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Most disturbing was the fact that these health effects were reported many times, and also among children.”

Wilson indicated that 39 per cent of 2006-2016 incident reports referred explicitly to sleep disturbance which is generally blamed for a myriad of diseases and disorders.

“Given the thousands of unresolved noise complaints in Ontario, and given Health Canada results of adverse health effects at distances of 550 metres to 1 km, it is reasonable to question whether the Nation Rise power project will not also engender community reports of excessive noise and adverse effects.”

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

To help support the appeal, which is bringing forward issues never presented to the ERT before, please send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0

 

Nation Rise project: significant concerns over health, environmental damage

 

North Stormont community fight for environment begins Monday

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Citizens of North Stormont are preparing for their appeal of the 100-megawatt wind power project, which begins Monday in Finch before the Environmental Review Tribunal

Wind turbine near Brinston, south of Ottawa: citizen reports of noise from industrial wind turbines are unresolved in Ontario [Photo: Ray Pilon]

July 22, 2018

In a bizarre fight which sees ordinary citizens marshalling scarce after-tax dollars to fight the Ontario government’s environment ministry to try to protect the environment (and safety and health), the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont begins its appeal of the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project tomorrow, July 23rd.

The appeal goes before the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal, a panel that is part of the Environment and Lands Tribunals (ELTO) of Ontario.

Almost every single wind power project in Ontario has been appealed, but there have been few victories in a system apparently set up to favour the power developers. Most successful appeals were won on blatant risks to wildlife and the environment, and one on aviation safety (the completely insane Fairview Wind project, planned between two airports near Collingwood).

Despite decisions that note the pain suffered by people forced to live inside wind power projects, the Tribunal has refused to consider any risk to health from the huge industrial-scale wind turbines, that do emit a range of noise.*

The power developer, Portugal-based EDP, is represented by John Terry of international law firm Torys LLP; Mr Terry has also represented the wind industry lobbyist and trade association, CanWEA, in the past. The new environment ministry, now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks or MECP, will also be represented by a team of lawyers.

The citizens’ group will be represented by lawyers from the environmental law firm of Eric K. Gillespie.

Risks to environment, safety and health

The community concerns filed with the Notice of Appeal include the danger to the area water supply (most of the project is on a “highly vulnerable” aquifer), safety from turbine operations, and health impacts from the noise from the industrial-scale wind power generators/turbines.

Tomorrow’s appearance will consist of Opening Statements, and a series of presenters including mechanical engineer Vern Martin, who will discuss safety concerns posed by the wind turbines and blades.

Tuesday, the themes are noise and health, and public safety, with Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson presenting data on the thousands of noise complaints lodged with the Ontario government which have not been resolved. Engineer William Palmer will present information on turbine events in Ontario related to debris and ice throw from the turbine blades.

Thursday will see appellant presenters discussing the risk to the aquifer and local water wells, posed by the foundation construction and wind turbine vibration.

The proceedings will take place in the Finch Community Centre and Arena, beginning at 9 a.m., and are open to the public.

Fund-raising for the citizen effort to protect the community is ongoing, please see the Go Fund Me link, here.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

  • From the report on wind turbine noise by the Council of Canadian Academies, 2015: “Wind turbines are a particularly complex and distinctive source of sound, which can span a wide range of frequencies including low-frequency tones. …The evidence shows a positive relationship between outdoor wind turbine noise levels and the proportion of people who report high levels of annoyance. (“Annoyance” is employed here as a medical term denoting stress or distress. Annoyance is listed by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect.)

Ottawa area community ramps up wind farm fight

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Last chance for justice

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Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental dangers ahead

July 17, 2018

Residents of Berwick, Finch and Crysler, just 40 minutes south of Ottawa, are working day and night to prepare for their appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project, scheduled to begin next Monday in Finch.

The power project, planned to have a capacity of 100 megawatts of power (though wind power is typically less than 30% efficient) and would see more than 30 huge industrial wind turbines throughout the project area.

If it goes ahead, that is.

And that’s something many in the community are determined to fight.

The project was one of five new wind power contracts awarded in 2016 under the Large Renewable Procurement program (LRP). The 20-year cost of the contract, which will be added to Ontario electricity customers’ bills, will be more than $436 million, or almost $22 million a year. The new Ontario government pledged to cancel all five of those contracts and so far, has dispatched three of them, with an announcement last Friday.

Without formal cancellation, however, the community through a citizens group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, is forced to proceed with its expensive appeal of the project’s Renewable Energy Approval. That approval, or REA, was given just three days before the writ period began for the recent Ontario election—an act that runs counter to the accepted idea that governments go into “caretaker” mode immediately prior to the election.

That is costing North Stormont residents thousands, but it’s costing all Ontario taxpayers, too, says Margaret Benke, spokesperson for the community group. “They have to send all those lawyers up here from Toronto, they have to stay somewhere, they have to eat — it all costs money, as they defend a bad decision made by the previous government.”

Why a bad decision? The majority of the power project would be built on land that is designated as a “highly vulnerable aquifer” meaning it is at risk for contamination by pollutants, and that the hydrogeology is such that the aquifer could be disturbed and wells for farms, homes and businesses could fail. That’s already happened near a wind power project in North Kent, and the new government has promised a public health investigation.

There are other environmental concerns about the project, including the risk of injury from blade failures and ice throw from the huge blades.

And then there’s the noise. The industrial-scale wind power generators produce a range of noise emissions which affect a significant portion of the population. The turbine noise can cause disturbance of sleep which results in other health problems; the unique quality of the turbine noise also results in “annoyance,” a medical term for stress or distress.

Almost every wind power project in Ontario has been appealed by Ontario citizens, and a few have been successful, but none on human health. At present, according to Wind Concerns Ontario, there are thousands of official reports of excessive wind turbine noise, almost none of which have ever been resolved.

The power developer, Portugal-based EDP Renewables, operates the South Branch wind power project in nearby Brinston; there have been noise complaints for that project, but they are unavailable under Freedom of Information requests because the Environment ministry’s Cornwall office did not follow procedures and issue tracking numbers for the complaints.

Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says that situation “is an outrage. If it were anything else, like a model of automobile that had a few engine fires, or a food product that was contaminated, it would be recalled. In Ontario, this terrible situation is allowed to go on and on, with the Environmental Review Tribunal and the former Ministry of the Environment just letting it happen.”

“This appeal is the community’s last chance for justice outside of the court system or the Legislature,” says Wilson. “I hope the Tribunal will finally recognize its responsibility to this community, and rescind the approval for this project.”

The appeal begins Monday morning in Finch, at the Finch Community Centre/North Stormont Arena.

Rural Ontario heartbreak: wind power invasion was all for nothing

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Turbines near Strathroy — the environmental impact, the noise, the high hydro bills. It was all for nothing. [Photo London Free Press]

June 13, 2018

Many analysts and commentators are now looking over the ruins of the Ontario government from the election last week, and pointing to the McGuinty-Wynne government’s disastrous handling of the electricity sector, particularly the ideology-driven push for renewables, as a factor.

Two Auditors General said Ontario had never done a cost-benefit analysis for its aggressive support of industrial-scale wind power and that we were paying too much — far too much — for the power. Which was intermittent and unreliable to boot, so it could never do what they said it would.

Now, Ottawa-based energy insider Steve Aplin says, not only was large-scale wind expensive it was also a waste of time: wind power has never been shown to reduce CO2 or carbon emissions.

Never.

Wind did not replace the power produced by Ontario’s shuttered coal plants, gas and nuclear did.

Read Mr Aplin’s excellent analysis here, but remember, a 100-megawatt power project was just approved for North Stormont, just south of Ottawa, and an approval is pending for another project east, in The Nation.

Neither community wants the power projects, there are significant environmental concerns, and Ontario doesn’t need the intermittent power produced out-of-phase with demand.

For a list of other comments on the election and the role of Ontario’s renewable power program, please go to http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

 

A tale of two wind ‘farms’: betrayal and discrimination

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June 4, 2018

Prior to the suspension*of Ontario’s “Large Renewable Procurement I” or LRP I, the government program to procure contracts for renewable power from solar and wind energy, five contracts were awarded in 2016 for new wind power projects.

Two of those were in the Ottawa area: the “Eastern Fields” project proposed by RES Canada in La Nation, the Township of Champlain and the United Counties of Prescott Russell, and “Nation Rise” proposed by Portugal-based EDPR.

Those projects are all now in the process toward approval and ultimate construction, in spite of the fact that the contracting authority, the Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO, says now that Ontario has surplus power for the forseeable future, and the fact that the communities do not unanimously support these power projects.

Let’s catch up with where the projects are right now.

Nation Rise, North Stormont

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental dangers ahead

This project was granted a Renewable Energy Approval or REA a few weeks ago, just days before the writ for the 2018 provincial election was drawn up. (The government is not allowed to make any major decisions after the writ.) The announcement came at 5 PM on a Friday; the community had 15 days to decide whether to appeal the REA, five days of those were on weekends, which restricts the ability of community members to consult with lawyers and subject matter experts.

The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont has decided to appeal, and a first appearance before the Environment Review Tribunal will be June 25 in Finch (to be confirmed).

There are a number of environmental concerns, principally the fact that the project will be located on what is designated a “highly vulnerable aquifer” — the Raisin-South Nation Protection Area serves 10,000 water wells. After the reports of disturbed and failed wells in Chatham-Kent during and following construction of a wind power project there, citizens in North Stormont are very worried about what could happen to their wells.

The other issue is noise: many residents will be exposed to the noise emissions coming from the more than 30 industrial-scale wind turbines planned for the area. Here’s the kicker: Ontario knew its noise assessment protocol for wind turbines was flawed so it revised the guidelines, and released a new document in April 2017. But, the five newest wind power projects don’t have to abide by them, instead using a “transitional” process, in spite of the fact their wind turbines are not yet purchased or built. A legal action on behalf of four community groups, North Stormont among them, is in process.

The wind power project will “have a huge impact on our communities,” said Concerned Citizens spokesperson Margaret Benke in a recent news release. North Stormont feels particularly betrayed because the current Premier told Ontario rural residents that wind power projects would not be put in areas that didn’t want them — a contract was awarded anyway, and last week the Premier, on a whirlwind election campaign tour that included North Stormont, was asked about that. She said “We had no choice.”

Listen to Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson here, in an interview with Bell Media’s Evan Solomon on the project.

This community group has started a GoFundMe effort to raise funds to defend the community, and they need help. Go to the GoFundMe link here: https://ca.gofundme.com/stop-wind-turbines-in-northstormont

Eastern Fields

Save The Nation protester: the MOECC and RES Canada don’t understand “Non”

This power project was in the mandated comment period which ended June 2nd, Saturday. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) says that consultation with the public is very important to the renewable energy process and that the comments from the public are welcome and valued.

That’s why all the documents were available in English only, in communities that are at least 60-percent francophone.

When pressed by residents and the community group Sauvons La Nation, the power developer RES Canada — which stands to make about $7 million a year–  said it would cost too much to translate the documents.

Apparently now, the MOECC says that francophone residents should have responded by the June 2nd deadline to say they need the French documentation and to request an extension to the deadline. Why wasn’t the information provided in the appropriate language in the first place, instead of discriminating against the francophone community?

There are environmental concerns with this power project as well, as it is close to the Alfred Bog, a site for migratory birds and other wildlife (Hint: migratory birds don’t count in Ontario — the wind power legislation, crafted by the industry, says that a species has to be on the edge of extinction before a wind power project could be denied).

There are concerns about water in the area as well, as it is rife with waterways, and also features areas of Leda clay or “quick” clay (as does North Stormont).

Noise will also be an issue for residents. Meanwhile, RES Canada, which also operates the Talbot wind power project, has had hundreds of complaints of excessive noise from the wind turbines, with no action taken by the MOECC.

Betrayal? Again, the Ontario government promised it would not inflict power projects on unwilling communities but again, it has. In this case, the gigantic turbines are all planned to be on land owned by members of a single family, involved in agriculture.

 

*The LRP/wind power program was suspended, which means, if the current government returns to power, or another is elected that also supports wind power, it could be revived and continue.