Category Archives: White Pines
WPD Canada’s White Pines wind project in South Marysburgh & Athol
An ERT appeal panel has concluded that wpd’s 27-turbine White Pines wind project, if built as approved by MOECC, will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, specifically to Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle.
This is a HUGE victory for appellants APPEC and John Hirsch, and for the whole Prince Edward County community. We are now well positioned to push wpd out of the County for good.
BUT it’s going to take more time, and more money for legal costs. Please read on, and then consider making a contribution to the South Shore Appeal Fund to help ensure victory.
Based on a quick read of the decision on the appeal of the approval of wpd’s White Pines wind project, the ERT panel has determined that there will be serious and irreversible harm to little brown bat and Blanding’s turtle. They have ordered a hearing to consider the appropriate remedy (if any).
The panel has not accepted that there will be serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to other elements of the natural environment.
Here is an excerpt from the ERT’s decision:
Conclusions on the Environment Test
 Based on the evidence and submissions before the Tribunal on the Project’s impacts, the Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, plant life or the natural environment under s. 145.1(2) of the EPA.
 The Tribunal allows the appeals in part.
 … the Tribunal will discuss procedural steps for the hearing of submissions with respect to the appropriate remedy, pursuant to s. 145.2.1(4) of the EPA.
On Thursday, July 16th, 2015, a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to White Pines Wind Incorporated (alias wpd Canada) for 27 of the 29 industrial wind turbines originally proposed, to be located in South Marysburgh and Athol. The two deleted were as a direct result of major efforts (and expense) by individuals concerned about the impact of these and other turbines on “cultural resources and protected properties”. The REA includes two large transformer substations. The 29 kilometre line connecting everything to the Hydro One system north of Picton was approved by the Ontario Energy Board in 2014. (Question: why would the transmission line be approved, apparently in a vacuum well in advance of the REA, unless the Ontario Energy Board was certain that the REA would be issued? Yet another indication that the entire procedure is a mockery of democratic norms).
The following article was published as a letter to the editor in the Wellington Times
Blanding’s Turtle re-dux.
It was timely for the Times to comment on the mindless funding by one provincial Ministry of an organization which had initiated a project to save the Blanding’s Turtle while another issued a permit to kill the same endangered species, as there were several contemporaneous developments in the same Alice in Wonderland nightmare which is the Green Energy Act.
Earlier this month, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce issued a devastating report. The Chamber represents 60,000 businesses in the province employing over two million people. The report emphasized that soaring electricity rates are threatening industries and businesses across the province with many commenting they expected to shut down in the next five years because of them. The Report specifically notes the huge surplus of electricity generated and its constant export at a loss borne by all Ontarians.
A separate source found that on July 4th, U.S Independence Day, Ontario’s gift to its neighbours was in the region of $5.5 million being the loss represented by the price at which it was sold compared with the cost of its production, that loss debited to all in the province who pay taxes and hydro bills. And this is a continuing daily occurrence, which according to the Auditor-General’s 2014 report cost $2.6 billion up to 2013.
Ontario has one of the largest sub/sovereign debts on the entire planet, and just a few days ago its credit rating was once again downgraded. And yet Queen’s Park insists on the continuing destruction of rural Ontario by calling for more bids for major wind and solar factories whose output is not needed and would be paid for by all Ontarians who pay taxes and hydro bills at rates above those for conventional water, nuclear and natural gas sources. And those factories will never, ever, be located in Ontario cities and towns, discrimination of almost unbelievable dimension.
OVER 4,00 MASSIVE OVERSIZE TRUCK LOADS…AND COUNTING
That’s what will hit the County – particularly Cherry Valley, Milford and much of Athol and South Marysburgh – if both Gilead Power and wpd Canada are allowed to proceed with their wind turbine factories. And they all have to come from Highway 401.
Gilead Power’s own consultants believe that some County roads will have to be strengthened and corners widened. They looked at three entry points and settled on Highway 33 and Highway 49 although nothing has yet been carved in stone.
Highway 33 would be followed over the Murray Canal bridge (59 tonnes maximum) to Consecon, then along County Road 1 for its entire length – including the roundabout- to the junction with County Road 10.
The Highway 49 option would skirt Picton to the west to reach the same junction of County Roads 1 and 10.
From that point County Road 10 would be followed through Cherry Valley and Milford to County Road 13, thence via Babylon and Helmer Roads to the Ostrander Point site. The Highway 33 route is 71 kilometres long, the Highway 49 option 56 kilometres. It is assumed that wpd Canada would use the same route(s), at least as far as Milford; from there its proposed turbine locations are scattered.
The following statistics cover both projects. Each turbine will require 40 truckloads of concrete for its base (1,520 ready mix concrete trucks).Each turbine needs 10 truck loads of turbine blades, tower parts and other components (390 special, oversized vehicles). Such vehicles need escort cars or trucks (760 in all). Separate trucks/trailers will be required for the delivery of other material (1,710 of them). So far that’s 4,380 individual vehicles, most of them large and heavy and many oversized and articulated. The turbines will be erected by giant cranes. Special vehicles (number unknown) will be needed to transport them in parts.
wpd Canada’s transmission line will span 28 kilometres from Royal Road to the Hydro One connection north of Picton. Add all required vehicles and equipment required for that work, number unknown.
County roads and normal traffic will take a beating. No information appears to be currently available as to the state of negotiations (if any) between Gilead Power, wpd Canada and Shire Hall as to final routing, road widenings and strengthenings, indemnity for damage to all roads , cost and responsibility and security for payment. Is the Murray Canal bridge adequate? Will the roundabout be taken out temporarily? How much OPP escorting will be required and who pays?
Is anybody concerned about the dust, noise, vibration and incredible inconvenience to be suffered by County residents and businesses along the routes, particularly those in Cherry Valley and Milford and along the transmission line?
And all of this spectacularly objectionable activity to enable the south end of the County to be desecrated, an Important Bird Area ravaged, the County bisected by the transmission line, and two corporations enriched at the expense of all Ontarians so that the power they may produce about 27% of the time can be exported abroad for considerably less than its inflated cost, the difference being absorbed by those same Ontarians in their taxes and hydro bills.
Insult added to injury, indeed, following the flight of democracy and common sense so fundamentally reflected in the Green Energy Act.
There is but one ray of light. The Court of Appeal has still to rule on the Gilead Power project while wpd Canada has not yet received its required approval.
CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN.
QUEEN’S PARK “DEMOCRACY” AT WORK
The pace of prospective devastation of the County is accelerating with the news of the approval on March 19th by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) of the 28 kilometre transmission line from wpd Canada’s proposed 29 turbine wind factory in South Marysburgh and Athol to the Hydro One connection north of Picton. The turbines themselves have not yet received their Renewal Energy Approval, although this can be expected soon. Construction of the transmission is line is to commence by March 20th, 2016, only one year away.
So many things about this decision defy natural justice. The OEB is only allowed to consider three things – the interests of consumers with respect to prices, reliability and quality of electricity service; the use of renewable energy consistent with the policies of the Ontario government; and suitable agreements with land owners, where applicable. No other evidence is allowed. No oral hearing was held, everything was done in writing and on line. There is nothing to indicate that the three OEB members who wrote the decision actually drove the route to see the magnificent countryside about to be affected. The County, APPEC and two individuals were granted intervenor status. All made telling and informed objections. In every case, they were overruled, the OEB preferring to accept arguments from its own staff or from wpd or declaring the objections to be outside its jurisdiction to consider.
The transmission line is (mostly) to be buried in County road allowances for its entire length. APPEC’s contention that the iconic maples on Maypul Layne and Crowes Road would be damaged or destroyed was dismissed out of hand. An intervenor whose heritage home and bed and breakfast is on the route was concerned that construction might damage his foundations and affect his business. He was given short shrift. The County asked for a Road User Agreement, given that wpd will be using many County roads to move their heavy equipment which likely will cause damage. Answer – no.
Section 41 of the Electricity Act, quoted by the OEB, gives wpd the right to install its transmission line over, under or on any public highway without municipal consent. It must restore those highways to their original condition insofar as it is practicable. It is obliged to provide compensation for any damage caused to those highways where it lays its transmission line, but not to any other highway it might damage with its heavy equipment. It specifically has no obligation to pay any other compensation as Section 41 removes the provision of the Expropriations Act otherwise authorizing an application to the Ontario Municipal Board for damages.
The combination of the Green Energy Act and the limitations deliberately imposed on evidence which may be heard by the Environmental ReviewTribunal and the Ontario Energy Board are collectively the antithesis of normal expectations in a civilized, democratic, society. Two Ontario Auditors-General have criticized the Green Energy Act for several reasons, including the absence of any cost-benefit analysis at any time and the continuing daily export of excess electricity at massive cost to Ontario tax and hydro bill payers. Nobody at Queen’s Park appears to be listening or even to care.
If you live in rural Ontario, it is to weep.
Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County
P.O. Box 173
Milford, Ontario K0K 2P0
APPEC Press Release
Wpd’s 28 kilometre transmission line in Prince Edward County approved
Milford, ON/ March 20, 2015 — A 28 kilometre high-voltage transmission line in Prince Edward County has been approved by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The transmission line is needed to connect wpd Canada Corporation’s White Pines wind project to the provincial electricity grid.
The transmission line, to be installed almost entirely in County road right of ways, extends from Royal Road south of Milford to the Elmbrook transformer station north of Picton. County landmarks impacted during construction of the line include Milford Black Creek Valley ANSI, Millenium Trail, Waring’s Creek Watershed, Big Swamp Provincially Significant Wetland and the roundabout at Loyalist Parkway and Cty Rd. 1. The transmission line, which wpd says will be buried, poses a threat to the stands of century-old maples lining Crowes Road and Maypul Layn Road.
Extensive excavation needed to bury the line is expected to cause structural damage to residential properties, including wells, heritage homes and some of the 600 + structures along the route.
wpd has provided little solid evidence about the transmission line. Repeated requests for information and studies needed for a full assessment of the project have been ignored.
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County is dismayed by the absurdity of the OEB approval of the 28 kilometre transmission line without prior regard to impacts on County Heritage landmarks, environmentally sensitive habitat and residential property structural damage without prearranged property owner agreements. The Alliance is frustrated even further by the fact that the OEB has granted approval without ensuring sufficient information was provided to the Prince Edward County Municipality to allow them to properly plan out the municipal right-of-way usage and understand the potential impact to County residences.
We strongly object to an OEB approval process that does not properly protect residents, residential property and the environment.
The Alliance calls on the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to reject the renewable energy application for the White Pines Wind Project.
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For more information please contact: Paula Peel
APPEC (Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County)