At a preliminary hearing by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal held Tuesday, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. (DWPI) lawyers refused to explain why the corporation, which has erected 316 transmission-line poles between its wind farm and Hydro One’s Orangeville Transformer Station will not make mitigation plans public as requested by Melancthon Council and residents near the right-of-way. Citizen concerns arising from pole bore holes extending into the local aquifers, possibly allowing for ground water contamination, and fears that the pentachlorophenol (penta), a wood preservative coating the entire length of the poles, may travel into surrounding wells, prompted Green Party candidate Karren Wallace to file for the hearing as a private citizen.
The panel for the preliminary hearing, held at Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex in Shelburne, included Dirk VanderBent, Vice Chair of the Environmental Review Tribunal, and Tribunal member Justin Duncan. The Tribunal is an independent body that hears public appeals under the Environmental Protection Act. Also present were Sylvia Davies, lawyer for the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Control (MOECC) and lawyer John Terry plus an additional lawyer for DWPI. The hearing was to confirm procedural directions for the main hearing to be held in the new year.
Ms. Wallace had said previously that her objection was based on DWPI’s mitigation plan for transmission lines never having been formally approved. The transmission poles, located alongside the County-owned rail corridor, will carry power from 49 new turbines in Melancthon to the transformer station near Dufferin 109 and the 3rd Line of Amaranth. Ms. Wallace looked at the issue of possible health risks posed by DWPI penta-covered transmission pole holes, many surrounded by water, some constructed in wetlands, and others near manure piles, “Walkerton had one conduit for contamination,” she said. “We now have 316.” Read article