It’s hard to believe that our regular First Thursday of the Month Meeting meeting at the South Neebing Community Centre, Thursday, December 1st , 2011 at 7:00 pm is behind us and we will be going into the new year of 2012. Remember we began this battle in 2009. In January, due to the holidays and the availability of the SNCC, the date and time of the next monthly meeting will “be announced”.
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SOCIAL:
Join us for an informal get-together with your neighbours on Tuesday, December 13th (7-10 pm) at the Neebing Road House – (Cost $10/person); cash bar. Celebrate the upcoming holidays and wish all a happy holiday. Proceeds go to the NMEPC. In the spirit of giving, we are collecting canned goods from our neighbourhoods for the local food banks, so if you are able to bring any non-perishable food/canned items, it would be appreciated.
BACKGROUND REVIEW: The July 2011 Newsletter discussed:
April Fools! City of Thunder Bay surrender to Horizon due to the $126 million dollar lawsuit; NMEPC has applied for the Terms of settlement through the Freedom of Information because we have no performance dates or detail on what has been agreed upon for this City-owned, public land
April 16 NMEPC Rally with John Laforet, Wind Concerns Ontario;
May 17 & 18 Horizon Open Houses – a complete “boondoggle”;
May 30 FWFN Open House – Horizon left by the back door and tried to “spin it that the NMEPC “stacked” the meeting which was a complete fabrication-FWFN told them exactly what they thought of their project;
May 31 Horizon Meeting with NMEPC – We asked for answers to our Dec. 09 questions, to our report of their Draft REA in May 2010 and to set up a working group of stakeholders– they said they’d think about it – we have yet to hear;
June 6 Horizon’s REA Comment Deadline for inclusion in their Community Consultation submission for their Final Application to MOE – NMEPC wrote a report with comments and question– many community members also expressed their concerns by writing letters;
June 23 Windfall Movie at the Community Auditorium – excellent event with over 500 attendees
Much has happened since then……
John Laforet resigned as President of Wind Concerns Ontario after three amazing years and has been replaced by Jane Wilson from Ottawa.
December 1 A Private Members Bill called the “Local Municipality Democracy Act; 2011”to restore local control to Wind Development Projects was defeated when the NDP and Liberals voted against it. We believed the NDP stated they wanted local control reinstated; but apparently not.
THE POLITICAL SCENE:
The NMEPC met on several occasions with members of all three parties and did not endorse any candidate, but rather, stuck to their mandate of providing education to the voters of the position of each candidate. All 6 candidates provided support for the NMEPC position that the Nor’Westers are the wrong location for industrial wind turbines for many reasons.
July 14 Tim Hudak visit to Thunder Bay. NMEPC had a table at this Chamber of Commerce event and were able to communicate our concerns;
August 27 NMEPC Flyer “Call to Action” with survey questions to all candidates;
September 14 Dalton McGuinty event at Prince Arthur Hotel – NMEPC members able to communicate concerns directly to McGuinty’s “camp” and Picketers outside provided Media interviews;
September 23 Tim Hudak & Andrea Horwath NOMA Convention – NMEPC members able to communicate concerns and picketed outside Valhalla Inn;
September 30 & NMEPC Advertisement of Candidates positions with background
October 1 information on the Project – 2 pages of the Source; 1 full-page in Chronicle Journal;
October 2 Maple Forest Hike from Loch Lomond Ski Area; well attended with people from all areas of the City
October 3 Soiree and Rally with John Laforet; Wind Concerns Ontario
October 6 Election Night;
We continue to meet with our MPP, Bill Mauro and keep the lines of communication open.
October 20 Bill Mauro Letter to the new Minister of Environment and Minister of Natural Resources requesting that this project be denied based on the Letter from the Previous Minister of Natural Resources with regard to the Peregrine Falcons and the concerns of his constituents.
Work continues researching and educating various Provincial Ministries as to the historical and cultural land issues, watershed and natural environment impacts, etc. and will continue. Apparently, we have been raising some important concerns, facts and issues which some Provincial folks never considered! As well, we are in discussions with various consultants with regard to this project.
September 26th Director of Approvals visited Thunder Bay. The NMEPC met and she provided an overview and clarification of the Approvals Process. We were able to discuss our various concerns and are awaiting responses to some of our questions.
LATEST HORIZON EVENTS:
The last we heard from Horizon was after their “boondoggle” of the Open Houses in May and our Meeting where we asked for answers to our questions and recommended putting together a working group of “stakeholders” to begin true consultation. That was 6 months ago. Complete silence for 6 months and then….within 10 days, three news articles; 2 front page. In regular fashion, all communication continues to take place through their media campaign.
November 19 Interview with Tony Zwig; where he announced they were full speed ahead. He stooped to name-calling for what I believe is a first–called us NIMBY’s and stated “I’m confident that there will be other operations (businesses that will set up in the city) once this project goes ahead.
November 23 Wind Spinoffs Article was 4 days later stating that a Quebec Company, Fabrication Delta “might” partner with Horizon and build a plant here “only if Horizon gets it’s approvals”.
December 1 Tony Zwig’s Letter to the Editor endorsing and commenting on “the good science” of that same day’s front page news story by LU Biologist, Mitch Taylor who is arguing to downgrade the Peregrine Falcon from the “Threatened” species list to allow for a Development in Neebing Township.
The NMEPC wrote a letter in response to the interview and manufacturing plant appearing in the paper on November 28th. The NMEPC also sent a letter to the MOE advising them on these newest developments clearly showing the Developer’s continuing lack of respect for community Consultation and divisive methods used.
Interesting to note that the Developer may be continuing his media campaign with another Poll. Remember the Pollaris poll where they stated 2/3rd of the City was in favour of their project? They would not release the questions and people who were called felt they were skewed in favour of the developer. We understand someone from Horizon and/or Firedog was attempting to have people sign a petition of support in front of Canadian Tire. When someone said they were against the project, the representative stated “ok, you can sign this” and produced another sheet. Not a very “scientific” approach which Mr. Zwig is so fond of.
Going forward, Mr. Zwig has yet to submit his application for a Renewable Energy Approval to the Ministry of Environment. If the MOE accepts the application as complete; which could take up to 6 months. It will be posted for provincial and public review where we will have 90 days to provide comment. At that time, they will be required to get specific Approvals and permits from other Ministries such as MNR, MTO and a final decision will be made. As well, there is an REA appeals process.
August 26 Former MNR Minister Linda Jeffries’ letter stating this location could not be approved due to the detrimental effect to the protected peregrine falcons
November 29 Mark Nash, Canadian Peregrine Foundation’s supportive email of the NMEPC endeavours received. It stated “We believe that any and all wind farming projects of this kind should never be located or sited in or near environmentally-sensitive area”
Lakehead University’s, Dr. Mitch Taylor, who is not an Ornithologist (ie. bird expert) presented a paper essentially arguing that the peregrines should be downgraded from “threatened” due to it impinging development in Neebing. Unfortunately, the research materials Dr. Taylor used to make his conclusions were not made available to the public for review.
We are in communications with several avian groups and agencies, including COSSARO (Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario).
We will monitor this situation and wish to remind everyone that, while this is extremely important due to the efforts of locals to reinstate this bird and the horrible impact this project can have on it’s survival here in the Northwest, this is not the only reason the Nor’Wester’s should not be considered for industrial Wind Turbines.
We have a very hard-working and creative group of volunteers organizing events to raise money. The following took place since the last newsletter:
• August 10 NMEPC Barbeque
- • September 24 Perennial Plant Sale
- • October 19 East Indian Dinner by Mary Mallik;
- • November 17 Stella & Dot Jewelry Party by Mona Shanahan
Thank you to all who donated their time and efforts to make these events successful! And thank you to all those who were able to participate and help raise those funds!
LAPPE & MURILLO PROJECTS – GILEAD WIND POWER:
This Company has now issued their maps on their website. The proximity to Hazelwood Lake may concern some. This same company is in the Developer of the very controversial project at Ostrander Point. They are applying for a Renewable Energy Approval to build and operate the wind turbines within the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and has applied to the Province of Ontario for a permit to “kill, harm and harass Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will as well as damage and destroy the habitat of Whip-poor-will for the purpose of the development and operation of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park.” Gilead permits to lease Ostrander Point and destroy SAR habitat. Nature Canada has been working with local naturalists to protect this Important Bird Area and halt plans for the wind project.
KEEP INFORMED AND IN TOUCH:
I hope this provided you with information as to the progress of this project. For further information see our website or simply email us with any questions or comments you may have. Come out to our next meeting and hope to see you at the Christmas Social next week.