On Sept. 8, 9/14 We attended the Fairfield / MOE Environmental Review Tribunal. We were shocked to hear that Vic Schroter , Director & Administrative supervisor of the ERT team say that there is no real communication with him and Sara Raetson at the Environmental Approvals Branch. Mr. Schroter granted the approval to the amendment while not knowing all the facts, because, in his words. “we trust the proponent“, even though, in his words too, “the company screwed up” nothing was done make Vineland Wind energy follow the directives REA.
Here is the damning testimony that we learned:
1. The Ministry of Environment does not verify set back distances of the wind turbines. They trust the wind proponent (but the turbines did not meet the required set back distances!)
2. The Ministry of Natural Resources does not verify either the presence or absence of natural features. For example, the size of woodlands were inaccurate in the Natural Heritage assessment report and no one at the MNR verified this. They are not careful to review the relevant documents and corresponding versions of those documents.
3. The Tribunal Chair identified training gaps with the environmental assessor that authored the Natural Heritage Assessment report.
It seems that we have a problem with training, verification, process control with both Ministries and the environmental assessment firm.
Ms Shields, a witness at the ERT, has spent tireless hours researching the REA documents for this project, What compels her and many the residents to keep going is that this is so NOT right. This is NOT how civil servants serve the people of our community. . This is NOT how a Ministry protects our natural features.
In the case of the amended ERT which the MOE approved, Mr. Schroter said that his job is to“look” at the amended REA. and that Vineland Power “should have submitted the property line assessment” which they did not. He stated “they were found out and submitted application for amendment”. According to you, Agatha Garcia Wright, this company was out of compliance. And according to the regulations, HAF wind energy was in contravention of the regulations.
Why is this project allowed to continue when even the MOE says they are out of compliance and and in contravention of regulations?
We do not live in the HAF wind energy project, but as you are aware, also NRWC is planning to place a 230MW project in this community. We are receptors in the NRWC project, residing 1.5 kms +/- between 5 Enercon 3mw turbines. NRWC proposes to build the transmission along the roads, in the road allowance in front of our home and the quiet side road which is our neighborhood walking route. This road will have collector lines and transmission lines along it.
Our township has requested that all the collector and transmission lines be buried because of safety issues, such as stray voltage, poles located close to roads, accessibility to emergency equipment, damage from weather, but NRWC is stubbornly refusing to do what is best for this community, even though the MOE insists that they be good neighbours. They do not want the expense of being a good neighour even those MOE regulations require them to be “good neighours”.
We have learned that there are verification issues, training issues and process control issues. We, demand that MOE/MNR review the NRWC project in relation to my property to determine whether significant natural features exist and require mitigation measures.
We demand that the transmission lines and collector lines be buried and that NRWC be obligated not to bully our township by making light of a township requirement.
We await your response to our concerns, several of which we will list here to make it easier for you.
a. an explanation as to why a wind proponent can allow issues, such as verification issues, training issues and process control issues to occur.
b. Why they do not have to place the health and wellness of the citizens of a project area first, why are they are allowed to do as they please because the MOE “trusts them”.
c. Why is it up to the citizens to prove “serious harm to human health” and Irreversible harm” to the environment after the fact, when the proponent should have to build those requirements into his project.
d. Why is the proponent not required to prove that there will be no serious harm to the health of the citizens and that there will be no irreversible harm to the environment.
e. Why do you allow a proponent to bully municipal governments, with the backing of the Green Energy Act? Citizens vote for governments to represent them, the proponents should not undermine the authority of the municipality (or any level of government.)
f. Why is the Vineland project allowed to continue when even the MOE says they are out of compliance and and in contravention of regulations?
g. Please confirm that our demands for NRWC, mentioned above will be attended too, or inform us what other way is available to us to make our demands heard.
Thank you for your attention to these matters.Peter & Nellie DeHaan
6505 Sixteen Road
Smithville, ON LOR 2A0