The stormy weather which protestors battled to attend a well organized opposition rally and shabby public consultation on the Sumac Ridge project was nothing compared to the troubled atmosphere generated by the propaganda and prevarication inside the Rolling Hills Public School venue on June 19th.
Rhino hide must be the sole qualification for the job of wind project consultant, knowledge of pertinent information apparently is not.
A GREED ENERGY NOT GREEN banner was unfurled by a young couple standing in front of a propaganda poster depicting an infant in green mask and cape under the caption “Wind power, Ontario’s growing superhero”.
A woman whose child has a heart problem pounded on a display table, no doubt frustrated by the manifest indifference to her concern for potential harm from Industrial Wind Turbines, others raised raucous chants and a passingly tuneful rendering of Oh Canada.
One “consultant” evaded a question as to why the company would use the heavily disputed (currently challenged at the HWC ERT appeal ) Provincial noise setbacks when a good corporate citizen might prefer to respect the WHO 2km setback. She claimed never to have found the scientific studies upon which it was based… almost laughable considering there exists no scientific proof IWT do NOT harm humans nor for that matter has there ever been proper scientific proof Industrial Wind Turbine performance actually matches its claims.
As the evening wore on, veterans of many an environmental skirmish, methodically toured the room, questioned, documented, and compared notes. These stalwarts previously worked through the Oak Ridges Moraine legislation to preserve its precious water… called the ‘rain barrel’ of Southern Ontario, the Moraine is the source of 65 major streams or rivers and provides clean, safe drinking water to over a quarter of a million people on private and municipal wells.
They reported that:
No WPD reps that were asked knew what the Oak Ridges Moraine is, why it is important and what area it encompasses.
Often asked why is it possible that WPD can build on the Moraine when local landowners might not be able to erect a simple shed – the response was – BECAUSE WPD CAN under the Green Energy Act.
WPD denies ownership of the Beers Road or Hayes Line wind test towers. WPD also denies being the company behind the land purchases along Hwy 7A and Beers Road. Apparently the wind developers see one another as competition so information is rarely shared. It was noted by several WPD reps that Energy Farming Ontario (EFO), which coincidentally has FIT contracts for two proposed power plants on either side of the WPD project, better act quickly – they are running out of time. The FIT contract has an expiry date – for EFO it is the end of April 2013.
So… there may be three more local industrial projects in the area being processed soon. Would WPD consider buying the EFO projects?….. maybe….
The issue of water came up many times. At least two WPD reps unbelievably stated there is no aquifer in the area. The professional engineer responsible for the base construction did not know that residents get their water from wells; he also did not know what submersible well pumps are.
The reps didn’t know where the two nearby schools or Pontypool residents (on a communal well) get their water from… it was almost as if water just shows up, like magic.
No hydrological or hydrogeological studies were conducted because under the Green Energy Act approval process, the proponent does not have to.
A vague Water Report produced by Natural Resources Solutions indicate that a seasonal fish habitat, a complex fish habitat, a large man-made pond, two artesian wells, and a small spring will be within 120 m of construction areas. The small spring will be in the direct path of the electrical line to go along Gray Road. When asked about the impact construction of access roads and transmission lines, etc. might have on these bodies of water – the answer was WPD will ‘mitigate’ any water issues…. when they appear.
Mr. Stephenson, the lead rep for the company NRS did state that future water infiltration (rain, snow melt) for .06% of the area will be affected by the construction of the concrete pads. Mr. Stephenson did not seem to be aware that changes in influence on groundwater in one location might affect water resources miles away. A member of the public tried to explain the importance of area underground or intermittent streams to local fish habitat in other bodies of water, but this concept was not understood by the rep in charge of environmental studies.
It was pointed out to the reps in charge of environmental surveys, that they missed some endangered species locals have documented for several years. And the 7 minute and 30 minute bird surveys? According to the rep – hey don’t blame us… we gave the MNR our study plan outline and the MNR said 7 minutes was sufficient. In defence of the 7 minute bird surveys one of the reps said they conducted several 7 minute surveys in the winter…. maybe even as many as 9.
The reps agreed there were no bird surveys conducted during migration periods. The reps do not know who will be hired to pick up dead birds and bats.
One of the reps stated that there might be a couple of permanent local jobs for turbine maintenance workers post construction.
While it was admitted that ‘vegetation’ will be removed, no one was able to indicate how many trees, what species and what portion of a significant woodland and other woodlands will be cut down.
When asked about blades breaking and the turbines catching fire, the head of WPD Canada Ian MacRae stated it never happens and that he only knows of a couple of workers who were hurt by wind turbines.
As to the huge compilations of wind accidents and deaths that can be found online….. Mr. MacRae stated that anyone can make up a list. However, Mr. MacRae did acknowledge that there had been some serious issues with the REpower wind turbine model blades cracking which almost decimated the fortunes of Suzlon, the India based owners. Mr. MacRae claims the blade cracking problem has been fixed.
One WPD rep admitted that the blades can not be recycled and will end up in landfill but this is not WPD’s problem.
The engineer did say that audible noise will extend for a long distance but will be within the regulations set by the Ontario government. The noise levels are estimated by computer modelling based on the turbine manufacturer’s specifications. The noise levels and distance in the maps may or may not be accurate since they are simulated projections. The noise studies were to include any other wind turbines within 5 kms but there is no sound information available on the two adjacent EFO projects Settlers Landing and Snowy Ridge… so there could be higher levels of sound or sound from several directions in the future.
No studies were completed on infrasound effects because the company is not obliged to do so.
The flicker effect – the strobe light effect will only last a few hours a week.
WPD will have insurance coverage for the turbines but have not made arrangements yet.
WPD has indicated that the company intends to send the application for approval to the MOE on June 29th.
The petition to protect this historic area can be found in the Wind section on www.manverswindconcerns.com
More reporting on this event at:
SHOULD YOU WISH TO HELP MAINTAIN THE HARD-WON PROTECTION OF THIS ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREA AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PUBLIC INPUT:
Please send a copy of comments and/or questions to the MOE Director or Renewable Energy Approvals, Ms. Doris Dumais at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And Councillor Heather Stauble, email@example.com
Keep a copy for yourself!
Family protesting GREED Energy
Heather Stauble speaks to protesters
MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP Laurie Scott address the crowd