Ostrander Point Wind Project’s first Community Liaison meeting — an embarrassment for the owners
[This post replaces an earlier one which contained erroneous information about the NDP MPP caucus. We apologize for the error.]
What if they gave a party and nobody came? This is pretty much what happened on June 27 in Milford, when the Ostrander Point wind project’s owners held the first of four required Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meetings.
The owners — Gilead Power Corporation? Actually, the project is now owned by Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP. Gilead is now in partnership with OPTrust, managers of the pension plan for members of the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU). OPTrust bought into the project in 2011 — early in the government’s approval process — presumably because of the high, full guaranteed investment returns promised.
The CLC meeting was notable for who didn’t show. Only one community member of the newly formed CLC attended. Only seven members of the public came out to the meeting.
Gilead had announced that the CLC would be comprised of 6 to 8 volunteers from the community, to be selected by March 20, 2013. Well into June, they were still looking for volunteers, and now we know why.
Gilead was able to convince only three people to participate. And only one — Matti Kopamees of Picton – actually showed up. The other two, both members of the inappropriately-named County Sustainability Group, were absent: Deborah Hudson was on vacation, and Don Chisholm was simply a no-show.
According to Gilead, “Responsibilities for Ostrander Point CLC members will include communicating with friends and neighbours, providing updates, seeking feedback, raising and resolving issues on behalf of the community and communicating project milestones.”
It’s not clear why the three people mentioned are considered appropriate to carry out the above mandate, as none live anywhere near the wind project. Deborah Hudson lives a comfortable 7 km away from the nearest turbine location (as the crow fiies); Don Chisholm’s house is a very safe 10 km away; and Matti Kopamees is about 15 km distant.
Perhaps expecting insurrection, Gilead/OPSEU hired as facilitator for the meeting a former member of the OPP’s Eastern Liaison Unit, which is charged with maintaining order at public gatherings. But there was no problem on this occasion, as the seven members of the audience were well behaved. From the small attendance, it’s obvious that County residents see this committee for what it is – a sham.
Attendees were informed that construction will commence this fall, no earlier than Oct 16, 2013, with turbine components to be delivered and installed during the winter. Commercial operation is scheduled to begin on Apr 22, 2014.
The second CLC meeting is being planned for September, just before the start of access road construction, and the third for December, just before turbine construction. This leaves only one more CLC meeting required within the first two years, with none required over the remaining 18 years of operations.
Yet another chapter in the sad and sordid tale of the Gilead / OPTrust Ostrander Point wind project.