Green Energy Act has some seeing red

Adam Prudhomme, Napanee Beaver March 12th, 2009

“All the money that has been spent in this municipality educating ourselves, listening to experts, coming up with our own summations, then to turn around and everything might just be carte blanche, is totally irresponsible on their part.”


Amherst Island wind-turbine foes urge council to challenge proposed legislation

The Ontario government’s proposed Green Energy Act was a hot button issue during Monday’s Loyalist Council meeting.

The act, which could pave the way for wind turbines on Amherst Island, has been met with harsh criticisms from many residents of the island. Council also expressed some concern with the plan, says Gaia Power – the company looking to establish wind turbines on the island – has begun to stray from their original agreement.

Expressing concerns at the meeting was Amherst Island resident John Harrison, who represents the Coalition to Protect Amherst Island.

“In my view, Loyalist Township had a model plan which permitted and controlled the development of renewable energy.” said Harrison. “It was fair to the developers, the landowners with leases and to the non-participating residents. Some of the protection that was built into the plan was denied to us by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and we are appealing this denial to the Ontario Municipal Board.”

Council agreed to receive Harrison’s report, and include some of his concerns into a letter they plan to send to AMO.

Deputy Reeve Bill Lowry, who was serving as Reeve in place of the absent Clayton McEwen, referred to some of Gaia Power’s actions as a “cowboy” style of doing business.

“All the money that has been spent in this municipality educating ourselves, listening to experts, coming up with our own summations, then to turn around and everything might just be carte blanche, is totally irresponsible on their part.”

According to Harrison, the following is a list of things that have yet to be agreed upon between the council and the company: protection of “environmental protection” and “environmentally sensitive” lands, separation from hamlet and shoreline residential areas, upgrades to roads to allow access, safe setbacks for noise, health and safety protection, shadow and flicker, natural and cultural features, protection of wildlife and woodlands, archaeological assessment, traffic study with emphasis on the ferry, site control during construction, decommissioning and site rehabilitation, and dispute resolution.

“I urge council to challenge the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and the Green Energy Act,” Harrison said. “There needs to be local input to the question of the sitting of turbines and transformers to take account of local characteristics and concerns. This is particularly important for Amherst Island, which has the majority of households a non-participants, has a long history and significant cultural attributes, has a very tender road system, is an important bird area and is a particularly beautiful part of Ontario.”

Council will submit their report later this week and discuss the issue March 23.