CFB Trenton is not just another “regulatory agency”

by Rick Conroy   Wellington Times
“The DND air traffic control radar at 8 Wing Trenton is essential to the safe transportation of Canadian Forces cargo and personnel in direct support of Canada’s Defence Commitments.”

Already staggering through insolvency, Skypower’s Byran wind energy project suffered yet another, perhaps fatal blow late in September when the Department of National Defence (DND) advised the company that it would not recommend or support the project as proposed.

The Times has learned that 8 Wing / CFB Trenton base commander Major General J.Y. Blondin wrote to Helimax, a wind energy consultancy contracted by Skypower, on Sept. 29 informing the firm that the project, as constituted, was “incompatible” with the safe operation of 8 Wing operations and that industrial wind turbine installation would have an “unacceptable impact” on the safe transport of Canadian Forces personnel and cargo.

Blondin points to disruption of air traffic radar for military aircraft landing at CFB Trenton as the first of three primary concerns. Wind turbines can affect radar signals in a number of ways including shadowing, mirrortype reflections, clutter or signal scattering, according to 8 Wing’s website.

The Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) of 8 Wing provides guidelines for wind developers considering locating projects in proximity to a Canadian Forces airbase. It recommends that developers or their agents consult with the DND if a project is being contemplated within a 100-kilometer radius of any DND air defence radar or within 60 kilometres of a DND air traffic control search radar, such as the one at Trenton. Further, DND does not permit turbines to be constructed within 10 kilometres of a major military airfield.

In his letter, Blondin further notes that, if allowed to proceed, the Byran project would restrict landing and takeoff at 8 Wing to just four per hour—an unacceptable constraint on its operations.

His third key objection relates to the impact the project would have at Mountain View airfield, which recently constructed a new gravel runway to simulate the “austere” conditions in places like Afghanistan.

Mountain View facilitates a variety of non-radar training including low flying, high-speed descent, night-vision goggle and short takeoff and landing. Blondin notes that Byran wind turbines, as planned, lie directly in the path of aircraft landing and taking off at Mountain View.

How was this overlooked? Why wasn’t ATESS consulted earlier?

Skypower didn’t respond directly to these questions, but spokesperson Aaron Peters offered that consulting with regulatory agencies is a big part of developing wind power projects.

“We are working with DND to ensure that the Byran Project is developed in an appropriate manner,” said Peters.

MPP Leona Dombrowsky said the concerns raised by the base commander are important ones and must be considered.

“The developer must try and mitigate these concerns,” Dombrowsky explained to the Times. “If not, then there is a mechanism they (DND) can use to appeal.”

Under provisions of the Green Energy Act the final arbiter of disputes related to wind energy development is the Ministry of Environment’s Environment Review Tribunal (ERT). Dombrowsky noted that projects that pre-existed the Green Energy Act will also be subject to appeal through the ERT.

It is clear however, that 8 Wing’s base commander doesn’t see CFB Trenton as just another “regulatory agency.” In his letter to Helimax, Major General Blondin underlines the significance of 8 Wing’s navigational systems.

“The DND air traffic control radar at 8 Wing Trenton is essential to the safe transportation of Canadian Forces cargo and personnel in direct support of Canada’s Defence Commitments.”

The provincial government has laid low many of its own regulations and safeguards to expedite the development of wind energy in Ontario. But it may have a more difficult time sidestepping the Canadian military.

11 thoughts on “CFB Trenton is not just another “regulatory agency”

  1. But, but, but, doesn’t the MOE thoroughly review each wind project to ascertain that it will not negatively impact the community? I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that a thorough agency consultation was not performed. Mind you, it is a little more difficult to ignore the DND than your average rural council. Wind turbines built in the approach to military airports could simply by used for ‘battle simulation practice’.

  2. Dan Babcock when at our house stated that DND was not an issue as they would be over ruled by the Green Energy Act and that Transport Canada governed DND. We did tell him at the time that we did not think so and that maybe Skypower should speak to the DND!!!! What goes around comes around and I think its now come around to Skypower.

  3. It should also be noted that Rick has made a correction in the Wellington Times – Major General Blondin is in fact in charge of 1 Canadian Division and NORAD – they do not come much higher than him – if he says that Byran is not safe for his personnel then maybe we should listen to him.

  4. Men and women risking their lives to serve our country and this fellow says.. “the green energy act will overrule”…

    A helicopter going out from Trenton to rescue someone and the radar does not give he or she the safety they deserve..

    This really shows the way these folks think.. And I see mr thumbs down is back..

  5. MOE does not have the capacity to review so no one from MOE reviews to the level necessary unless there is an issue or someone requests a specific review. Even then it is doubtful MOE reviews much. This is a fact on at least one proposed industrial wind development. It sounds like it is not too different anywhere else. Why would an industrial wind company contact a potential conflict if they have assurances that the provincial government will figure out how to make it work. Why should the company deal with anything up front? Not transparent and not meant to be. Lots of opportunity to hide and deny until reality hits the fan. Then the company insists it didn’t know, it’s too late to stop, too much invested, nobody told them, etc.. and calls on the government to make it happen. The process favours the company. It will be interesting how provincial legislation holds up to federal interests. Wonder how long it takes for someone in the government to get the message. My bet is with DND. My support is with DND.

  6. I think this is a very eye opening example on how these folks think..
    They really do not care about what happens to the people they are dealing with.. Or the animals..

    They leave their humanity at the door when they start their speil about how everyone must get on the ‘green’ energy bandwagon..
    They saw the movie and it is so..

  7. We must not forget we have an annual and very, very active Air Cadet Flying Program at Mountain View all summer long.

    What are the odds that one of our young glider students will continue to dodge these 400 foot rotating Wind turbine Blades scattered all around Moutain View and Prince Edward County. Food for thought here parents.

  8. Just a message to Mr. Thumbs Down.

    You are a coward. No one respects the opinion of a coward that can not back up there opinion with facts out in the open without hiding behind their keyboard.

    Grow up kid! You have been “Greenbwashed”and need to be deprogrammed from the cult perpetuated and sponsored by our Premier, Dalton McGuinty at taxpayers expense.

    I dare you to make yourself known to us or can’t you take the heat? Didn’t think so.

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