Horizon’s July 2013 Newsletter is troubling in that it continues to minimize, gloss over or dismiss valid community concerns regarding the Big Thunder Wind Park. It is not only what Horizon states but what they fail to state which is most disturbing.
Horizon states that the Big Thunder REA Application was declared complete and “the application has met the requirements for the Ministry to begin a technical review of the project”.
Fact: This comes after subsequent refusals by the MOE that this project was complete. ee chart and ask yourself what really happened?
||Draft REA released
||REA submission to MOE
||MOE deems application Incomplete
||REA re-submission to MOE
||Horizon files Application for Judicial Review to challenge MOE’s refusal to accept Application as Complete
||MOE deems application Complete 2 days prior to deadline for submissions for Judicial Review
Horizon states their OPA Applications were withdrawn “after an extensive community consultation, Horizon whittled the scope of the wind park to 16 turbines, with only 8 in the first phase”.
Fact: On June 12, 2013 the OPA returned ALL large FIT energy applications – including the 4 Horizon applications. These were not withdrawn by Horizon. The OPA is also requiring any developer to gain Municipal and First Nations involvement and support for any new energy contracts, thus the recent push by Horizon to provide incentives to local community groups to garner support. (Note: Municipality of Neebing and FWFN has steadfastly refused any remuneration)
Horizon states “At the request of residents and the City of Thunder Bay, Horizon removed turbines that were closest to the ridge and to homes”
Fact: The reasons for turbine location changes are misleading and not all turbines closest to the ridge were removed. See chart and ask yourself what really happened?
||Study Area – Outside Watershed near Big Thunder
||Letter from MNR advising the location is unacceptable due to ANSI
||Location Change – Mount Johnson (150 m from Loch Lomond Ski Area and close to escarpment ridge and homes)
||Letter from MNR advising the location is unacceptable as buffer zone for Peregrine Falcons to be 1 km from cliff ridge
||Location Change – 3 turbines moved back from cliff ridge and 6 moved forward
||Horizon Lawsuit Against City (126 million) as City only approved 14 of 18 turbine locations (did not approve 4 closest to cliff ridge and homes)
||Location Change – City Settles out of court – Deleted 2, Kept 2 of the 4 turbines in dispute and increase turbine size
Under the Section Why Am I Paying So Much for Hydro? Horizon states “The Ontario Energy Board has revealed that 45% of the power cost increases since 2006 are due to nuclear power, while only 6% are due to wind”.
Fact: They fail to state that wind supplied 3% of the total power generation in the province but produced 6% of the costs (double). Nuclear supplied 56.4% of the total power generation but only represented 45% of the costs (closer to half).
Horizon is requesting volunteers to serve on a Community Liaison Committee to “facilitate two-way communication between us and members of the public”
Fact: We know that developing this Committee is a Requirement upon Approval from the MOE of any project. This is pre-mature at this time.
Fact: The NMEPC requested a working group be formed back in May 2011 with local community stakeholders including the City, Municipality of Neebing and FWFN to address these issues and concerns and were flatly refused by Horizon.
Fact: The City cannot discuss this project or participate fully as they have been gagged under fear of further litigation.
Fact: Based on past Developer behaviours there is no reason to suggest that joining this Committee will have any meaningful impact to this project and may, in fact, be detrimental.
Horizon quotes an unnamed “young hunter and mother” about the Greenwich Wind Farm in Dorion and it’s effects on moose and impacts on clear-cutting.
Fact: The simple observations are not valid studies and the differences between the two projects are enormous. Dorion’s pre-existing logging roads and terrain cannot be compared to the untouched protected (over 100 years) watershed lands and mountain escarpment of the Nor’Westers.
Horizon states they are offering “free well testing for neighbours living within 1.5 kilometers of the site.”
Fact: This may be fine for Southern Ontario and farmer’s fields, but the recharge system on a mountain range like the Loch Lomond Watershed influences wells and community wells as far as 15 km away according to the Lakehead Conservation Authority. (note: the Green Energy Act removed the Lakehead Conservation Authority’s mandate as stewards of this land)
Horizon states they “will be conducting additional testing and studies on the turbine site…..The tests will involve some drilling and tree-trimming“.
Fact: Due to the nature of the typography and concerns expressed, the geotechnical study should have been part of the REA application and open to public review and comment.
Fact: The City of Thunder stated in April 2011 that there would be “NO work conducted, including any tree cutting until ALL approvals were in met”. Any “tree-trimming” is premature and must be stopped.
ACTION! Please express your continued concerns to:
MPP Bill Mauro 807-623-9237, 240 South Syndicate Ave., P7E 1C8
MPP Michael Gravelle (807) 345-3647, 179 Algoma St. South, P7B 3C1
MOE – Sarah Raetsen, Senior Program Support Coordinator
MOE – Doris Dumais, Director of Approvals
City Mayor Keith Hobbs
City Councilor Linda Rydholm