County critical of power line upgrades

by Scott Dunn, Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin

Some Grey County councillors Tuesday criticized Hydro One for what some said appeared to be a “lack of clarity” concerning its power line upgrades for a wind farm.

The company which owns Plateau Wind Farm, south of Maxwell in southeastern Grey County, is paying Hydro to upgrade the lines, county meeting minutes say. A Hydro One spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that’s common practice.

Blue Mountains Deputy-Mayor Duncan McKinlay told county council Tuesday that Hydro One approached him for permission to anchor new, bigger hydro poles on his family’s property at Ravenna.

Hydro called the work, along Grey Road 2, “routine” and never mentioned upgrades were to service power from the planned Plateau Wind Inc. project down the road, he said. That company is part of what was formerly International Power Canada Inc, now IPR GDF Suez.

McKinlay said he’s not necessarily opposed to wind farms but objected to a “lack of clarity” from Hydro One as to the purpose of the upgrades.

“I was left with the understanding this was just a routine improvement to the power grid,” he said. Grey County council signalled its concerns about wind power a year ago when it asked staff to investigate whether to prepare a bylaw to control turbine development based on health concerns.

Tuesday county council passed a committee recommendation calling for Hydro One to hold a public information session regarding its tree-cutting project related to the line upgrades along Grey Rd. 2, and made that request on behalf of the lower-tier municipalities too.

At a council meeting break, McKinlay said Hydro told him replacement of existing hydro poles on municipal road allowances with larger poles required anchors placed on private property, including his.

“I’m a reasonable fellow, I thought if it’s for the good of the country I’d go along, right? There’s some debate whether wind power’s for the good of the country though, isn’t there?”

Hydro contacted him two or three weeks ago for permission. “But I guess they want to get going right away.”

He understands the line construction could affect some of the county’s “living snow fence,” planted years ago to reduce drifting snow on Grey Rd. 2 near Ravenna.

County input should be sought to ensure new poles don’t have to be moved for future road widening.

At minimum, the county is seeking a public meeting, he said. Asked if he’s opposed to wind power, he said “I haven’t been convinced that it’s the best option.”

But he said concerns about wind power is “the subtext, I mean, the long and the short of it is, just tell us what’s going on and let other people know.”

“I’m not inferring there was an agenda. I’m just saying there’s an opportunity for more communication. And I hope Hydro will take this opportunity.”

Gary Shaw, director of county transportation and public safety, told council Tuesday he already contacted Hydro One about the meeting request. “Hydro said they don’t have time to hold a public information session,” Shaw said.

A lawyer was consulted and believes Hydro can’t cut trees and locate poles on county road allowances without county permission.

Hydro One spokeswoman Daniele Gauvin said once it receives the county resolution it will contact the warden.

Hydro will also contact the Grey Highlands mayor about that community’s request for a public meeting for the same issue. She said Hydro received its resolution Wednesday.

County Warden Arlene Wright said “we really do need to be forceful” and added “Ontario Hydro can be a bit of a bully.”

Grey Highlands Deputy-Mayor Paul McQueen started the council discussion about the Hydro One work. He said his main concern was to ensure the public is informed about the tree-cutting because “nobody knows what’s going on.”

Gauvin said: “I am told that we will be following up with the (Grey Highlands) mayor to discuss the resolution and how we could communicate with residents about the line upgrade.”

At a recent Grey Highlands council meeting, David Timm, IPC’s vice-president of strategic affairs, expressed frustration with Grey Highlands council for causing costly delays in its project.

The municipality has not granted building and entrance permits after application was made one year ago and now the turbines are coming in June/July, he said.°

9 thoughts on “County critical of power line upgrades

  1. Wow….poor David Timm is having some frustrations. Now he knows what it feels like for the rural residents of Ontario who are just trying to – live in their homes without adverse health affects – protect the value of their properties – and have a government who doesn’t strip away their rights.

  2. I strongly suggest an independent audit of the existing power quality along the existing lines and in each home prior to the OK of any pole allowance. Once the allowances’ are given, Hydro One has limits as to their ability to mitigate power quality after the turbines are hooked into the local grid in any way. Darlene and Ross Brindley, Tiverton victims, the three homes across the road in the IPC Malancton project, and many others across the province have been the lab animals for IESO on this aspect of an industrial wind complex. David Colling from Ripley has assisted many and collected data from many affected properties, too.
    Down the road of litigation the question will be asked if the municipal powers ensured the power quality would not be affected by the changes.
    The article does not refer to burying the lines.

  3. Serves poor David right! Somebody has to teach those bullies not to lie. He was 1 of 3 that told Essex council that under the GEA they didn’t have to give the town any thing for road and right-of- way use. Yes they don’t have to if the municipality kisses their behinds and doesn’t force them

  4. Both the wind turbines and the transmission lines must be properly grounded or stray voltage can enter the ground water and travel quite a distance depending on the circumstances.

  5. transmission lines must be properly grounded Somehow I don’t think you mean that… 😉

    I think I know what you are trying to say…

    • Right David,

      Not the lines but the structures that support the lines? Is this a better way David?

    • Perhaps the correct question/questions should be about the proper grounding of all parts that make up each wind turbine power system/ wind farm from production to delivery of the electricity to where it’s supposed to go to insure public safety?

  6. Doesn`t Grey county have a moratorian on IWTs? If so,no work of any sort should be proceeding, & IPC or whatever their latest incarnation is called,definately should not have industrial turbines ordered. If the people don`t want them, they should not be installed, period…..ever.
    Oct.6/11 can`t come soon enough!! How many more victims must their be?
    This is like watching our soldiers crashing & dying in Sea King helicopters, because our idiot P.M. cancelled the new ones ordered by the previous administration. He should have been forced to do all his travel in a Sea King, as McGuilty & all Liberal M.P.s should be forced to live 550m. from IWTs…

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