By Brandon Walker Chronicle Journal
Irene Bond worries there could someday be more than 50 wind turbines on the Nor‘Wester Mountain for a project that currently only proposes 18 turbines.
The Nor‘wester Escarpment Protection Committee president said she doesn‘t trust Horizon Wind because the company has kept the public “in the dark” about their plans.
“Everything has been kept from us . . . and we‘re questioning why we were kept in the dark. Horizon told us at the open house that no, they were just looking at 18 turbines.”
Page 9 of the Thunder Bay administration‘s wind park report says Horizon wants council to approve 18 turbine sites for immediate use and 12 turbine sites for future use.
“That‘s something new we learned . . . and on the Ontario Power Authority website it says they have 54 (turbines) listed for this project that are waiting for approval.
“Now they‘re just promising 30. We don‘t believe anything, we‘ve lost trust, we don‘t feel we‘ve been dealt with honestly,” she said.
Horizon‘s interest in the 12 additional turbines was acknowledged by the company in April. At the time, project co-ordinator Nhung Nguyen said the 18-turbine project was the priority and that adding 12 more turbines was something Horizon “may or may not consider” in the future.
Members from the Nor‘Wester Escarpment Protection Committee will give a deputation during tonight‘s council meeting, when councillors are set to vote on the location of the 18 turbines.
Bond hopes councillors go into the meeting with an open mind and that “they don‘t feel the pressure from administration to sign something that could have serious consequences for the community.”
“If they feel they have to sign something, don‘t agree to locations and don‘t give Horizon road access through Loch Lomond Road . . . make them find own access.
“My fear is they‘ll be cutting down maple trees as soon as they get this lease signed. I‘m very afraid they‘ll proceed and then rush it,” Bond said.
Coun. Andrew Foulds said he will attend tonight‘s meeting with an open mind.
“This issue and this decision has been for me, personally, one of the most difficult decisions in this term of council,” he said.
“It‘s very emotional and both sides of this argument feel very strongly about their side, they‘re very passionate about it.
“I think council has taken the entire process very seriously and I know that all councillors have really weighed all the concerns and issues.”
Foulds said he still hasn‘t made up his mind on how he will vote.
“You‘ll have to come and see . . . I want to listen to the deputants and get all the information and hear the debate. My mind isn‘t completely made up,” he said.