Update on the Destruction of Wolfe Island

These photos illustrate the transformation of a small section of Wolfe Island as viewed from across the St. Lawrence channel.  Note, this photo shows only 6 of the 86 turbines now installed.
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THE PROVINCIALLY SIGNIFICANT WETLAND that was filled with material provided by Canadian Renewable Energy, and completed by contractors working for Canadian Renewable Energy:  We continue to be denied concise answers as to who actually directed this work, but it would seem Canadian Renewable Energy provided excavated material from a work site free of charge, arranged an extension of a culvert to accommodate the roadwork on Nov. 5th, 2009 and paid the contractors to load, haul, and place the material Nov. 6th.  The result is permanent loss to Provincially Significant Wetland Little Sandy Bay.   Still, Canadian Hydro Developers says that the work has nothing to do with the wind project.  The Township has failed to answer any questions, despite an access to information request by Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment (WIRE). 

Part of the problem is that the Provincially Significant Wetland is now partially drained, as the culvert and extension were increased in size three-fold and sunk well below the original culvert.  I have observed that what was once wetland is now (in spring, at the height of water saturation) almost dry. 

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE:  The commercial operation date is now end of June (partial operation is slated to begin in April, though the Post Construction Followup Plan has yet to be published).  The routine annual dry-dock maintenance for the MTO ferry has now been set aside to accommodate the workers until September 2009.  There is little evidence that the plan for transport of workers (to avoid long line-ups at ferries) is any longer in force.  There seems to no longer be any restriction of use of ferry by workers, and Wolfe Islanders take “the back seats” in the line-up.  Rumour has it the project is even more over budget and six months late.

COMMUNITY LIAISON COUNCIL:  There are now only three people on the Community Liaison Council:  one representative of the company, one land-owner under contract with the company, and one non-resident whose son is an engineer with the company.  In other words, there are no community representatives not under contract (and non-disclosure agreements) on the Community Liaison Council.  The Community Liaison Council ‘s next meeting has been scheduled for JULY!!!  So much for community input.

ROADWORK:  Many Township roads are almost impassable with old culverts dumped and lying rusted in the ditches, which have been filled with loose gravel to accommodate large vehicles.  Residents have been told that some roads will not be fixed because “no one important lives down them”.  The Township randomly closes roads at behest of the company.  Municipal officials are now openly admitting the roadwork promised pre-construction will not be “of the quality and quantity” advertised.  The expectation promoted by the company representative (Site Manager) that bicycle paths would be built is now defunct.  The company is now very adamant that roads will not be upgraded following construction, but will be returned to the original state.  This flies in the face of past promises.

Hedgerows have been crudely bulldozed and many mature trees that have been cut to accommodate the large trucks conveying blades have been scavenged for firewood, even inside provincially significant wetlands.

POST PRODUCTION FOLLOW-UP PLAN:  This is the only bright spot in the report.  WIRE and Lake Ontario Waterkeepers have been invited by Canadian Hydro Developers’ ecologist for  PPFP to propose two representatives available to observe the PPFP monitoring of bird and bat resources.  Note, this role is strictly as an “observer”:  there is no indication what changes to the Post Construction Follow-up Plan have been undertaken in response to the public stakeholder submissions. 

 When Ontario’s Green Energy Act is passed, it is unlikely that any future wind turbine developments will be expected to complete a Post Construction Follow-up Plan (note, the Post Construction Follow-up Plan was a requirement of the Federal EA, not the provincial EA for Wolfe Island).

 COMMUNITY:  As expected, some making more money than they could hope for — vast majority are not.  There is very high anxiety throughout community over commencement of commercial operations, noise being the main factor.  Canadian Renewable Energy will not commit to any referral or action process or series of steps in the event that noise becomes an issue for a resident.  Presumably if a non-participating resident has a noise concern, they are to contact the Site Manager and he’ll “take a look into it”.  When pursued at a CLC meeting, the Site Manager refused to specify even the most basic first step that might be taken in the event of a noise complaint.

 ECONOMY:  Businesses servicing temporary construction workers have benefited significantly from work over winter and spring months.  Many commercial cottage owners are experiencing drastic decline in bookings.  Many homes are for sale with prices dropping and no interested buyers.  Wolfe Island Music Festival in doubt.

 That is the sad tale for now.

For more on the history of this project, click here

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Ian Baines, driving force behind the Industrialization of Wolfe Island

Ian Baines, driving force behind the Industrialization of Wolfe Island

The McGuinty Liberals including Laurel Broten and John Gerretsen are to blame for this destruction

The McGuinty Liberals including Laurel Broten and John Gerretsen are to blame for this destruction

13 thoughts on “Update on the Destruction of Wolfe Island

  1. Canada must have some wasteland other than Wolfe Island to put these things. I have enjoyed The Wolfe Island / Cape Vincent / Kingston area since the 1940’s and now it has been ruined for many Canadians and Americans alike. I always admired the Canadian government’s policeys for taking care of their resorces… What the Hell happened?????????

  2. Whatever happened to democracy! It is like living in a communist state where the individual does not count…neither does the environment. All decisions are made behind closed doors.

  3. The pictures are frightening! I have nothing against renewable energy–if it works and is not inappropriately sited. I have yet to read anything not put out by wind companies lining their pockets with our tax dollars or poloticians (who want photo ops and votes) that tells me that wind energy is efficient, predictable and does not destroy the views and areas that they are being errected in. I bet David Suzuki and Dalton McGuinty don’t live or cottage anywhere near one of these eye sores.

  4. Typical Liberal mess! I especially agree with the Crosby reponse of April 30th, 2009. David and Dalton (the two D’s) can control where these things go – we can’t.

  5. This is a Criminal Act!

    For our own Government representatives to do this type of damage to a beautiful pristine place like Wolfe Island shows utter contempt for the Citizens of Ontario.

    These “carpet baggers” have to be held responsible for this disgusting act of destruction. Shame on them!

  6. It seems a lot of money flows to specific targets at the beginning to make these projects happen. What happens when the money sources start to disappear. At some point in time, sooner than later, these turbines age (some cases rapidly) and will cost more to operate. Will they be subsidized when they are no longer producing power? If the company sells off to a limited partnership company who will see their money stop? Glad I am not relying on lease payments to deal with toxic oil clean up and liability insurance for my property. Good luck to anyone that has leased land to place turbines. For anyone who has signed a lease agreement and feels they are better off, just wait.

  7. as someone who knows the island and those who reside there, the islanders had a choice if they wanted the windmills installed on their land-for the issue of 7 thou per year. The island itself would also receive 7 thousand times how many windmills installed. If you’ve ever been to the island in the off season, they REALLY need the money. So it’s not really just politics.

  8. The wind industry appears to target those who feel they need the money. They are the most vulnerable and willing to risk everything. A few thousand dollars a year seems like a lot but in a few years the money will not seem like much. The damage to their property cannot be repaired. The lease on their land will continue to exist, owned by what every limited company buys it. What is the value of these properties as the infrastructure degrades over time? Who will be interested in these properties in 10 years?

  9. Department of Fisheries and Ocean most likely reviewed the project and provided direction to the company for in-water work. If the company deviated from the planned work and that work destroyed fish habitat authorization could not have been given. It sounds like the company does not want to admit to completing some of the in-water work as it may not have been authorized to do so as required under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act. If the township did the work they too need authorization. To figure out the status of this particular incident contact Fisheries & Oceans Canada, OGLA Southern District, 304-3027 Harvester Road, PO Box 85060,Burlington ON L7R 4K3 Phone: 905-639-0188 Email: referralsburlington@dfo-mpo.gc.ca. Determine what was authorized, who was authorized to do it and what compensation was agreed to. If DFO does not know who completed the in-water work than an investigation should be requested.

  10. Tom Dickenson asks, “What the Hell happened?”

    I can answer that. In 1988, during one of the endless Washington DC intra-bureaucracy budget battles, an ambitious young scientist-bureaucrat named James Hansen used a computer program he had developed for studying Venus (whose atmosphere is nearly all carbon dioxide) to the Earth, and started trumpeting the idea that CO2 would cause catastrophic global warming on this planet. The idea was utterly absurd to anyone with any scientific knowledge of either meteorology or the Earth’s climate history, but it entranced the ignorant politicians who were eager to appear “green”. Senator Gore, an ex-seminarian, took up the trumpet and gradually the insane idea that CO2 was a pollutant and we had to use “renewable energy” instead of fossil fuel.

    In the meantime, an ignorant public had been terrified by mass media sensationalism over Three Mile Island — an incident which released absolutely no radiation and which proved that plant safety systems worked even in spite of continual operator misjudgment and error. So new nuclear development was politically impossible.

    But of course there is no such thing as “renewable energy”, beyond grandpa’s Franklin stove. Nonetheless, ignorant politicians jumped at the opportunity to increase their control over the populace while Saving The World, so we got Kyoto and renewable-energy mandates all over Europe and North America, accompanied by (thanks to the usual coterie of lobbyists) amazingly generous subsidies and tax breaks, not to mention valuable “carbon credits”.

    The only developed, supposedly “green” generators are wind turbines. They generate, at the industrial level, absolutely no useful power — the wind is too variable, both in time and speed, so to keep the grid steady fossil plants have to be kept on spinning standby anyway; the standby plants might just as well produce all the power. The only useful thing these monstrosities produce is windfalls for fat cats in New York and Toronto, so there’s no real reason to worry about wind where they’re installed. It’s just for show. And boy, do they show. And they require more than a THOUSAND TIMES more land area for a given nominal wattage than a conventional power plant.

    ALL THIS HIDEOUS VANDALISM OF OUR ENVIRONMENT IS FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING: A FRAUD BASED ON A LIE.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/08/09/has-everyone-completely-lost-their-minds/

  11. Mr. McGuilty and his friend should be judged by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for this crime against nature and mankind.

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