by PAUL MORDEN, Sarnia Observer
Construction could begin this summer on a four-turbine wind farm planned for Brooke-Alvinston Township.
Mississauga-based Green Breeze Energy Inc. held its second public meeting required to secure provincial approvals for the 10-MW project Thursday at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre. It already has a contract to sell energy to the province.
Township Mayor Don McGugan estimated about 75 people were at the meeting, including some wind energy opponents.
“They had a chance to voice their opinions, which is good,” McGugan said.
“And there were those there that the turbines are going to be on their farms, and they’re quite happy.”
The wind farm is planned for a site bounded by Old Walnut and Ebenezer roads, just south of Churchill Line.
Esther Wrightman said she was among 12 to 15 wind opponents at the public meeting.
She lives in neighbouring Middlesex County, about 15 minutes away from the turbine site, but said her father’s family is from Alvinston.
Wrightman said she has been to several wind project open houses around the region in recent years and came away from Thursday’s feeling her questions weren’t being answered.
“They just get worse and worse and worse, because it seems they don’t have to provide as much information any more, either that or they’re just not,” she said.
“They didn’t even have the project document there to review. I couldn’t believe it. That’s just a simple thing.”
McGugan said officials from Green Breeze Energy said construction would begin July 2.
“They have permission to get on the grid,” he added. “They have that all looked after and they figure to be online by Nov. 1.”
Municipalities lost their ability to approve or deny wind projects when Ontario adopted its Green Energy Act.
“If the Green Energy Act says I can’t stop them,” McGugan said, “what we have to do is work with the proponent and make the best deal we can for Brooke-Alvinston.”
The township’s main concern, he added, is ensuring its roads aren’t damaged during construction.
“There are 160 loads of cement going to go up the roads, and then there’s four turbines.”
McGugan said he was told by the company that the turbines will be unloaded from ships in Hamilton or Sarnia, and then travel by road to Brooke-Alvinston.