Thunder Bay wind opposition group ready to take concerns to city

By Jamie Smith,

Holding the last of their open houses Tuesday, the Norwester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee says they want to convince city council to engage the public in a discussion about the proposed Big Thunder Park.

NMEPC member Michelle Addison said she was concerned when she found out that the city has been in talks with Horizon Wind and its predecessor since 2006 to lease lands around Loch Lomond. Addison said what concerns her most is that the public has never been involved in those discussions.

“The fact that that information was shared behind closed doors was quite concerning to me,” Addison said. “Horizon has really had an upperhand…they’ve had closed door sessions with council members, closed door sessions with administration it sounds like and yet we aren’t privy to have that same opportunity for public consultation.”

Addison said the group will go before council June 29 to try and convince the city to wait to make a decision until Horizon has had its open house in August.

“We want to make sure that the public opinion is known to city councilors it’s pretty hard to make a decision when you’re representing the residents and you don’t know what their true opinion is,” Addison said. “I think it’s really important that the city knows what the public thinks of this initiative.”

Around 20 people showed up to the groups own open house at Mary J. L. Black Library on Tuesday evening. Donna Zorzes said she came to the open house because she wanted to learn more about the proposed 27 megawatt project. After walking around and discussing some of the group’s issues with NMPEC, she said she had some questions of her own.

“I’m in favour of green energy of course yet so many people are against (the proposed wind farm) it so I want to know why,” Zorzes. “Why choose that spot? Why put it on top of our mountain range you see it when you come into the city.”

Zorzes, an avid hiker and cyclist, said even though she lives in Northwood, everybody enjoys the Nor’Westers. She said she also has concerns that the public weren’t consulted.