The arrogance of WPD: “It’s all about us”
Here is commentary on one of WPD’s handouts at the first White Pines public meeting on March 22, 2012. Their text is shown in bold, followed by our comment on each point.
Site Selection: Why Prince Edward County?
- Good wind regime. Isn’t it great for WPD that the County is so windy? Too bad for us.
- Compatible land uses — agricultural land requiring a small footprint for Project components. Wind turbines are in no way compatible with the nearby residential properties or the natural environment. And the “footprint” — area of impact — is at least a 2-km radius circle around each turbine.
- Landowner interest for the Project. Oh yeah, the 20 to 29 landowners who signed deals with no thought about their neighbours or the natural environment? This group represents 2/10 of 1% of the property owners in the County.
- Electrical interconnection — the Project has an agreement with the Ontario Power Authority to feed power into the local grid. An agrement maybe, but no existing infrastructure. Hydro One will have to build a 29-km high-voltage interconnection line on 60- to 80-foot poles, sacrificing hundreds of trees and passing close to hundreds of homes, to link to its substation north of Picton.
- Environment — to date, studies of local environmental features show that impacts on wildlife and natural features can be mitigated. This project will locate 20 of the 29 turbines within or near the South Shore IBA, spanning a distance of 15 km. There is no mitigation for the birds and bats killed by spinning turbine blades, or the habitats destroyed by huge numbers of trees and bushes cleared, or the many kilometres of access roads built, or the thousands of tons of concrete poured for turbine foundations.
- Local economic benefit — jobs, municipal tax revenue, benefits to landowners. Maybe four permanent jobs, not necessarily for local residents. A trivial contribution to municipal taxes — about $1K per turbine, the same amount as for a house worth $120K. In fact, the benefit will be mostly lease payments to the aforementioned landowners. On an ongoing basis, WPD will spend only 3% of revenues locally and keep 97% for themselves.
- Site access — good existing road infrastructure. These good roads have been built, and will continue to be maintained, with County taxpayers’ money. WPD will be getting a free ride.
- Accessible topography. Isn’t it convenient for WPD that the County is so flat? Too bad for us that this flatness will increase the impact of both visual and noise pollution.
Did WPD not discover any negatives about choosing to locate its project here? Maybe we only got page 1 of their handout. We’ll check into this and see if WPD left off page 2, titled Site Selection: Why NOT Prince Edward County?