Association to Protect Amherst Island
Residents of Amherst Island started the new year with shocking news. The Ontario Government deemed complete a Renewable Energy Approval application by Windlectric Inc. for up to 37 industrial wind turbines and posted the application on the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry on January 2 for public comment. The proposed turbine project has entered the “technical review” phase.
The Ministry of the Environment ignored an October 15 Loyalist Township Council resolution ‘’requesting Ministry of Environment (MOE) to deem the application as incomplete and requiring that the proponent resubmit with all appropriate studies and consultation completed”.
In recent months, the Association to Protect Amherst Island made a strong case to the Ministry that the application is incomplete and deficient and should be returned to the applicant for completion. The Association argued amongst other things that the documents failed to address the Loyalist Council position that the documents are incomplete, failed to recognize the presence of Blanding’s Turtle (one of thirty-four endangered species on the Island), failed to properly address decommissioning and how turbine parts will be disposed of in Ontario, failed to consider the impact on over 100 heritage properties, failed to consider the impact on dry stone walls designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, failed to mention the impact on groundwater, failed to identify all cemeteries and burial sites, failed to provide clear noise maps, and failed to address emergency services, safety, and roads use.
Loyalist Township Council approved a report on April 2, 2013, in which Murray J Beckel MCIP, Director of Planning and Development pointed out the many deficiencies and omissions in the Windlectric Inc proposal and advised that the consultants’ reports lack detail and an approval of the project is premature until the full scope of the project including an appropriate level of detail is supplied enabling a proper assessment of impact on municipal infrastructure, the natural environment, cultural heritage, and land use compatibility .
Notwithstanding its many deficiencies and omissions, the Ministry of Environment declared the submission by Windlectric “complete” and invited public comments on the proposal for sixty-five days to March 8, 2014.
Amherst Island is a rural community west of the City of Kingston (Ontario) about 3 km off the northeastern shore of Lake Ontario. The Island’s separation from the mainland has contributed to preservation of its cultural and natural heritage landscape. The Island is world famous for raptors and includes the “Owl Woods” where many birders have seen their life owls of several species.
The community is not only threatened by a proposal by Windlectric Inc. to blanket the Island with wind turbines but with two other industrial proposals. Residents have asked the Ontario Government to consider the cumulative impact of the Napanee Gas Plant proposed by TransCanada and relocated from Mississauga/Oakville, the proposed Lafarge 2020 Cement project, and the existing Lennox Generating Station. Given the gas plant fiasco, Islanders believe that Premier Wynne and the Ontario Government have an obligation to consider the full impact on Amherst Island. The Association to Protect Amherst Island’s preferred outcome is to reject the Windlectric proposal for industrial wind turbines.
The Association encourages the public to oppose the Windlectric project and to submit their comments to the Ministry of the Environment by March 8, 2014. Named one of the Top Ten Endangered Places in Canada by the Heritage Canada Foundation in 2013 due to the threat of wind turbines on its rich cultural and natural heritage, Amherst Island is simply the wrong place for industrial wind turbines.
For more information please consult: www.protectamherstisland.ca
Contact: Peter Large, P. Eng., President, Association to Protect Amherst Island