Clearcutting 29 km on Bond, Crowes, Miller, Mowbray, CR-10, Sandy Hook, Scoharie, May, CR-4, Fry & CR-5 Roads
[Garth Manning is a retired lawyer, former President of the Ontario Bar Association, County resident and member of CCSAGE.]
If eventually approved, WPD’s 29 turbines will each require connection to the planned sub-station at Royal and Dainard roads. By itself, that’s many kilometres of wire on posts (and construction damage and demolished trees), mostly affecting South Marysburgh. But from there, a large portion of the rest of the County gets to share in the misery. As filed, WPD’s maps show its main transmission line from the sub-station to the Hydro hook-up at the Picton Transformer Station on County Road 5 using the following roads – Crowes, Miller, Mowbray, County Road 10, Sandy Hook, Scoharie, (the last two being County Road 1), May, County Road 4 and Fry. They are silent as to how the line gets from the sub-station to Crowes Road, but rumour has it that it will be buried under the surface of Maypul Layn and then jog east on Bond Road and north to Crowes.
Earlier this year (“Maypul Layn Mess” – Times, March 7) it became clear that WPD intended to destroy up to seventy century-old maples along the shoulders of Maypul Layn as a preliminary to erecting its transmission line. On evidence being provided to Shire Hall that the County owned only the road and that the shoulders belonged to the adjoining land owners, the Municipality moved quickly to confirm this and to notify all concerned. (Hydro One, contracted to do much of the work for WPD, has the right to perform work on municipally but not privately owned land). Thus the rumour of installation under the surface of Maypul Layn may well have substance – and that by itself is not good news.
Be that as it may, the writer has driven the entire 29 kilometres of the proposed transmission line route. Most of it reflects the boundless attraction of the County – some of it open, much of it heavily treed on both sides, scrub land, farms, modest homes, plus along County Road 1 several substantial, well known businesses and the famous roundabout.
It is believed that the transmission line will be carried on poles 70 to 80 feet high located at 70 metre intervals. That’s very much higher and closer together than the relatively unobtrusive rural lines to which we are accustomed. As contractor to WPD, Hydro One will construct the entire transmission line except on May and Fry roads which, according to the filed documents, are WPD’s direct responsibility.
Despite its filed material, WPD recently said in a letter to the writer “The transmission route has not been determined as we are still consulting with Hydro One. Should we be responsible for building part of the transmission line our preference is to bury the cables”. One should draw one’s own conclusion from the disconnect between its filed plans and this latest version.
The bottom line may well be that a significant part of the County will be inflicted with a 29 kilometre linear visual nightmare with as many as four hundred giant poles, many of them stayed with guy lines. Hundreds of trees will be removed to make way for them. Construction by itself will be an unpleasant and stressful experience for those along the route and the finished result permanently ugly beyond measure.
This additional imposition has been little noticed among the litany of other bad news flowing from and implicit in the Gilead and WPD filings. The County far beyond South Marysburgh will be directly and adversely affected.
Should we care, despite the chilling anti-democratic provisions of the Green Energy Act? Yes – write your Councillor, MPP, MP, Premier and WPD telling them all that we’ve had enough. The County is a beautiful Ontario destination and we won’t sit on our hands and let it be destroyed.
And we wait with interest the letters to the Editor from WPD and Hydro One putting the record straight.