Posted By SUSAN HUNDERTMARK QMI AGENCY Stratford Beacon Herald
After spending more than $60,000 in lawyer’s fees to fight proposed wind projects in the St. Columban area, Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) is hoping to collect more contributions from the community to continue the fight.
“We’ve had huge successes here staying ahead of the projects,” HEAT member Gerry Ryan told close to 40 local residents at the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Columban last Thursday.
“Our lawyer Kristi Ross has a plan but I can’t tell you what it is or it will blow the plan.”
HEAT member Rob Tetu, who is responsible for keeping the organization’s books, told local residents that he collected an average of $1,000 each from 60 donor families at a total of $62,460, the majority of which went to pay HEAT’s lawyer, the firm Fogler Rubinoff. Other expenses included advertising and hall rentals.
Tetu said he thought the lawyers’ fees were well worth the price since Ross’s response to CASA Engineering and Construction’s environmental screening report to the Ministry of the Environment slowed down the process enough that the company was not able to proceed to the stage of applying for a power contract before the Green Energy Act was enacted.
“It may seem like a lot of money but I really feel we got good value for the money so far. We will continue to use Kristi Ross to fight the wind turbines in the area,” Tetu said, adding that fundraising efforts will be “redoubled” in the community.
HE AT is also still selling $4 signs protesting the wind turbines and demanding health studies into the effect of wind turbines.
Tetu said Ross is now working with 10 other similar wind turbine protest groups, largely because of the success HEAT has been experiencing in preventing turbines from being erected nearby.
HEAT member Jeanne Melady gave a presentation updating local residents about what has happened with the Green Energy Act and with plans for wind projects in the St. Columban area and throughout Ontario.
She said that three wind projects are now proposed for the St. Columban area, including two by St. Columban Wind Energy, which involves a total of 13 turbines and one by IPC Energy, which involves five turbines.
“We were delighted to find that St. Columban 1 and 2 and the Seaforth wind farm did not get a contract at this time,” she said, explaining that the Ontario Power Authority offered contracts to 184 energy projects throughout Ontario but placed 250 projects, including the three in the St. Columban area, on a list “awaiting economic connection test.”
She said OPA will start the first connection tests in August, looking to see if there is any more space on the grid for the projects on the list.