BY SHANNON DUFF, BANNER STAFF
NORTH PERTH — An Atwood-area farmer called police last Tuesday in an effort to get Invenergy Canada surveyors off his land.
Koos Wilting said he received correspondence from Invenergy Canada stating the company’s intention to survey Wilting’s three parcels of land. Wilting’s lawyer responded to the company, writing they wouldn’t be permitted to do so. This correspondence went back and forth for about a month to a month and a half.
On Tuesday, May 8, Invenergy Canada representatives arrived at one of Wilting’s properties.
“They visited the house after,” said Wilting. “We just talked. We came to the conclusion that we disagreed.”
Wilting said his lawyer had advised him he could contact the authorities should surveyors show up and not wish to leave. So he telephoned the police and gave them the cell phone number of one of the Invenergy representatives. An officer called the representative and they spoke by phone.
Wilting says the group then proceeded to his third property. He called police again, who attended the scene.
“We talked about the situation,” Wilting said. “I said, ‘I don’t want them here.’ The police told them to leave, so they did.”
He said there were about six men in the group, but couldn’t confirm if they were all with Invenergy Canada.
Wilting told The Banner he has in fact signed a contract with Invenergy Canada.
He said he isn’t permitted to discuss the details of his contract, but would say he and his lawyer believe the contract to be invalid. Wilting said he couldn’t confirm at this point what his next step would be.
Invenergy Canada’s director of business development James Murphy confirmed the company is “in the process of conducting surveys with our signed landowners.”
He said it’s a non-invasive process required by the provincial government in areas where a project is proposed.
Invenergy Canada is currently working on a 23- to 27-turbine low-density wind energy development within North Perth and Perth East. It’s confirmed there are several landowners who have signed contracts with the company to host turbines on their land.
Regarding the survey, Invenergy was proceeding “within legal acts, within the signed contract.”
“It’s part of the due diligence we need to conduct,” he said. “Landowners and their lawyers had a significant amount of time to review the contract. Once signed, it becomes a legal document. If a landowner changes their mind, it becomes a legal matter.”
Murphy said the company has projects across North America and works closely with thousands of landowners.
“We’ve always been open and honest,” he said. “We look forward to moving ahead.”