By Gary Rennie, The Windsor Star
The province halted a multi-billion dollar wind turbine project on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair Friday — along with similar projects — until a review by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources of the use of Crown land on the lake bottom is done.
In addition, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment proposed a ban on offshore wind turbine projects within five kilometres of the shoreline.
“The government has been listening to the concerns of our residents,” said Essex MPP Bruce Crozier. Leamington-based SouthPoint Wind has created a furor and packed meetings with residents objecting to its proposal to put 715 wind turbines into Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.
Essex County Warden Nelson Santos welcomed Friday’s announcement as addressing concerns that turbine construction near the shoreline affect drinking water intakes and commercial fishing.
“It’s good to hear the length of the setback,” Santos said.
It’s not clear yet whether the county or individual municipalities will have to hire consultants to make presentation for the review being done by the natural resources ministry, Santos said.
The setback proposal is subject to comment over the next 60 days on the environmental registry, which can be accessed online at www.ebr.gov.on.ca.
Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Pat Hoy said a review of ecological issues and impacts on commercial fishing could lead to longer setbacks than proposed.
Until the new rules are final, Hoy said he’d work to keep offshore turbines out of the Great Lakes.