Conservation is for sale in Niagara — if you have enough money to back you up.
When Niagara Region Wind Corporation first approached the local conservation authority about using one of its trails during the construction phase of its 77-turbine wind farm, the answer was no. But when big wind came back, with a lot more money blowing behind it, the answer changed.
The trail in question — the Gord Harry Trail — was gifted to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority by the Township of Wainfleet, a municipality that is no friend to wind energy. Because of Wainfleet’s stance on wind turbines, the NPCA opted to consult with the municipality on the matter. Wainfleet’s answer, not surprisingly, was no. The township did, however, consent to permitting a crossing of the trail. That option would have seen the NPCA collect a measly $7,500.
Not willing to accept no for an answer, NRWC, which has since been taken over by Enercon, resubmitted its request, this time with a half a million dollars to sweeten the deal. They offered $20,000 a year over the 20-year duration of the project plus an additional $100,000 donation to the authority’s conservation fund. The request was now back on the table with a report from staff reminding board members of the authority’s need for cash: “As identified in the 2015 budget deliberations, total estimated capital costs for NPCA properties equalled approximately $5 million, however, only $1.3 million was budgeted in order to reduce the pressure on municipal levies. NPCA staff is focused on seeking alternative revenue streams in order to further reduce municipal levies and create sustainable recreational programs that promote conservation principles,” read the report.
Not sure how dozens of trucks tearing up a nature trail promotes conservation principles, but apparently money speaks louder than nature.
read more: And don’t forget to leave a comment Grimsby Lincoln News By Amanda Moore, July 28 2015