By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer
Norfolk council was called on this week to break an impasse between a green energy company and the county’s public works department.
Capital Power is about to begin work on a 58-turbine wind farm straddling the Haldimand-Norfolk county line east of Port Dover. Forty-five turbines will be in Haldimand while 13 will be in Norfolk.
The project hit a snag recently over the question of how Capital Power should bury its 34.5-kilovolt collector cable in Norfolk. The company must bury the cable in the county road allowance. Capital Power wants to do a direct burial into the earth while Norfolk public works wanted the cable encased in concrete.
Eric D’Hondt, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, worries that someone might cut into the cable with a piece of heavy machinery if it isn’t protected. If that happens, D’Hondt says Norfolk will be liable for any injury.
“You cut through a 34-kilovolt line and it kills people,” D’Hondt said. “We don’t want an accident out there. It is our road. It is our liability.”
D’Hondt said projects like this have a habit of changing hands numerous times. When that happens, liability is dispersed and reliable maps of underground utilities become hard to find. D’Hondt fears the municipality will be left holding the bag if anything goes wrong.
“Tracking down firms has been a problem for us,” he said. “Not only for the old stuff, but for the new stuff.” Read article