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“If I didn’t sign, I would see the windmills without revenue”: cash crop farmer Marc Bercier

Not too many years ago, cash cropper and seed grower/processor Marc Bercier was actively opposed to green energy projects being proposed and built in his area, but this February he signed for a potential five windmills* and one substation to be located on his 1,700 acres.

“If I didn’t sign I would see the windmills without revenue,” said Bercier.

Pointing to the 29 pages of documentation involved for his portion of the 10,000-acre proposed windmill project, Bercier noted how the negotiated sections on soil compaction, erosion and overall environmental protection were vital to him, considering that his farm is only just over the requires 500 meters from this village. [Editor: what? Do you mean from the project?]

The documentation showed that Bercier was promised $15,000 per windmill per year as a base price, with incentives for more power and compensation for anything that affected the surrounding land. The substation lease was $20,000 per year.

Township Council passed support motion

It’s a massive community project that seems to have the support of Nation Township Mayor Francois St. Amour. A January 20, 2014 council motion passed, stating it [council] “supports the application under the Ontario Power Authority’s Large Renewable Procurement Program.”

Ontario Farmer obtained documentation showing that, as of March, 2015, 165 landowners had been approached by the EWG windmill company, of which 128 had signed agreements and 37 were in discussion.

“They are all farmers,” said St. Amour, noting that the required setback distances from the windmills meant that a lot of land was involved per windmill.

As of mid-June, almost everyone of the former holdouts had signed up and joined, said Bercier.

OFA ‘incredibly helpful’

The company had persuaded and signed up a local, prominent farmer who then went up and down the concessions promoting the project to individuals, said Bercier.

… “yes, there are liens on the project,” said Bercier. However all lien documentation has been passed by his lawyer, alleviating all concerns as to affecting the farming operation, he said.

The OFA has been incredibly helpful in promoting the project, noted Bercier.

Spending $42,000 a year of hydro costs for his farm, “double what it would cost if I was in Quebec,” Bercier is well aware of the extra hydro costs the public pay to finance such green energy projects.

“We had an election, the Liberals won. The voters chose to pay for more electricity,” said Bercier.

By Ian Cumming

Ontario Farmer

June 23, 2015

*They’re NOT “windmills”!