Farmers On Guard


Guide rails installed for Niagara Wind on Port Davidson Road raise safety concerns

Grimsby Lincoln News

WEST LINCOLN — When massive transmission towers were erected alongside rural roads, farmers took notice. Now that guide rails have been installed alongside them, those concerns have been amplified.

Since the rails were installed in close proximity to Port Davidson Road several farmers have reached out to the local office of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to express their concerns. Chief among them is road safety.

“The poles raised concerns about safety, being that close to the road,” said Henry Swierenga, OFA member services representative. “The guiderails are even closer. It’s a concern for the farm community and the travelling public. Unfortunately, we’ve had incidents involving farm equipment in the past and this just adds to the risk.

“There’s not a lot of room to get yourself out of trouble.”

According to Montreal-based Boralex, which owns a 25-per-cent stake in the Niagara Region Wind Farm project, the guide rails have been installed to follow provincial road safety regulations and with the approval of the local municipality.

“We have contracted a professional engineering consulting firm to do the design of these, including defining how close to/far away from the road the guide rails should be,” said Marc Weatherill, project manager, via email. “That said, we have asked them to keep the guide rails as far from the road as possible so that there is room for larger vehicles and equipment to pass through, particularly farm equipment.”

Weatherill said they are working with the municipal and regional governments on the placement of the guide rails.

“We are working together with local representatives and professional advisors to do what we can to keep the guide rails away from the road while still abiding by road safety regulations,” he said.

Farmers say those considerations are not enough, and the placement will present a challenge in just a few weeks when the harvest begins.

Cash crop farmer John Sikkens said it’s a risk every time he takes his large machinery down the road. While the majority of drivers are patient with farmers, there are some who are in such a hurry they put themselves and farmers in danger, he said. Sikkens said there is not much room to pass as it is on rural roads in the township, as shoulders are close to non-existent. He suspects the guide rails will present challenges come fall when crops like soybean and corn need to be harvested….


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