Northland Power Inc. (NPI) is an entirely off-Island company looking to build an industrial wind farm in our community, solely for profit. They, along with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) have been promoting the wind industry to Island residents using various means. Much of their propaganda has included very misleading information, and much of their activity in our community has been conducted very secretively. I suppose it is entirely acceptable for a business to protect its interests using any means necessary. What, in my opinion, is unacceptable is for NPI (in a November 17 letter to the editor of this publication) to suggest that anyone opposing the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm is a selfish individual lacking an environmental conscience and unable to differentiate between fact and propaganda.
NPI continues to attempt to claim the moral high ground in this debate by suggesting that their wind farm is an environmentally friendly alternative to using fossil fuels for producing power. While there is no evidence to support this claim, many people continue to accept it, or at least not take exception to it. Troublesome as this is, it is only bordering on unethical. However, to accuse concerned citizens of being selfish for not supporting NPI’s corporate interests is going too far.
Many opponents of the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm are genuine environmentalists who are committed to directly reducing their impact on the environment. They have thoroughly informed themselves on the negative impacts that industrial wind farms have on communities, and are only trying to share this information with their neighbours. Some are people who are living off-grid or working towards living off-grid, who grow much of their own food, and who support a local economy. They have nothing to gain from stopping NPI’s project; they are only trying to protect the health, property rights, and heritage and culture of our Island.
Opponents of the wind farm realize that the wind will never blow on demand. Unless we develop new technologies for storing electricity, or begin to use electricity when the wind is blowing, wind will never be a practical energy source to make electricity for a provincial grid.
Opponents of the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm will support alternative energy projects that have community as a focus, rather than community as an obstacle. They are also committed to reducing our energy consumption used for both electricity and transportation. They also realize that industrial wind farms are not a realistic solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; there are options. It is not wind farms or the end of the world.
It is understandable that the growing opposition to the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm is frustrating NPI’s representatives. I would imagine that as they sat in their corporate offices planning this project years ago, that they never expected us to be intelligent and organized enough to form any sort of opposition. They terribly underestimated the people of our great Island. Now they know that we will not just roll over and be exploited by an off-Island corporation.
Nic Harfield, Manitoulin Island
Non-participant landowners deserve answers from wind company
Notice to all landowners in and around Perch Lake and Green Bush Road area.
The McLean’s Mountain wind turbine project headed off by Northland Power has been signing 20-year lease agreements plus extensions with private landowners since 2004. Leases have automatic renewals unless notified to terminate by the leaseholder on a set date. All options on this land are held by the wind company.
Similar to other investors or speculators, who purchased land for more turbines, Northland Power or its representatives appear to have been trying to acquire land in and around the Perch Lake area. There may be plans that would allow more turbines to be installed next to existing or other non-participants.
As a landowner in this area, this is of great concern due to the fact that this area of proposed wind turbines, the footings of which can exceed 16 feet of depth, are in contact with headwaters of Perch Lake that can be impacted if the property is leased or sold. As private adjacent landowners that do not stand to gain, they would, in fact, lose much more than anticipated.
We need to be concerned that process hazard reviews (PHRs) and risk assessments were not followed through on a one-to-one basis that would directly involve non-participant owners of land. Trappers of this area and Indigenous people who know this land should be consulted and involved in the process. All concerns should be addressed and worked with to a common goal.
If these processes were followed, it was only on land with which Northland has agreements in place, which troubles me as an owner. Although notification of this project was mailed to all landowners (I think) in this area by Northland, this information lacked in assurance on environmental impacts, including human health and insurance, to all landowners that do not wish to have an industrial project impact their land as below.
1. Redirecting headwaters to Perch lake (flooding land and starving an already shallow lake).
2. Time-limiting values and time-waited averages from frequency, decibel readings versus temperature and distance threshold values that impact hearing on wildlife to human life.
3. Mechanical failure, i.e. propeller fan blade breaking off and injuring someone on neighbouring property.
4. Electrical bonding of turbines in case of lightning strikes causing a forest fire.
5. Project being developed in birthing area for wildlife, impacting future species in wetlands.
I urge everyone in this area to take notice that this is a serious concern because implications of this project affects landowners. Liability, including health effects, can be brought forward on the right people to safeguard your land against what few stand to gain from this project.
A lawyer has also suggested that anyone that agrees to have a turbine on their property should make sure the binding agreement with the developer states the developer will be solely responsible for any legal costs in the event of a lawsuit from a neighbouring property owner.
If this is not legally included, the property owner may be held responsible for possible damages caused by the turbine.
Remember, as we go forward with green ideas we need to move with our neighbours, our community, and most of all the environment we impact. I believe Northland Power has fallen short of providing the necessary answers to go forward with a project of this magnitude.
J. Rivet, Green Bush Road