BY ANDREW SMITH
NORTH PERTH – A draft site plan of the Conestogo Wind Energy Centre project confirms the relatively small amount of support for the wind turbine project, according to North Perth councillor Warren Howard.
Howard, also a member of the Elma Mornington Concerned Citizens, said the draft plan of 26 turbines within North Perth and Perth East illustrates the community’s feelings towards the project.
“I think what it shows is that very few people are continuing to support this project,” he said.
The draft plan, available for public review at the North Perth municipal office and library, lays out the proposed location of turbines and the property owners with land leased for the project. Of the leaseholders who continue to support the project, Willem Bakker is shown as hosting three turbines, Henk and John Boers are shown as hosting nine turbines, Henk Schuurmans has been allocated two turbines, and John and Adrian Zyta have three turbines. Howard said the names of the leaseholders who continue to support the program shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“The communication networks in Elma Township and Mornington Township are such that I think everybody generally knew where the turbines were going,” Howard said. “The map was just a confirmation of that.”
According to Howard, of the project supporters who had turbines placed on their property, only one has been located on the same lot as their residence. In that case, the turbine has been placed at the extreme rear of John Boer’s farm, approximately 900 metres from the residence. Howard said he can’t be sure the turbines were specifically placed away from the homes of the leaseholders, but it appears that way.
“I can’t say whether it is truly coincidental or not, but largely they are well away from where the people whose land is being used, actually live,” Howard said. “I am hearing stories that in some cases that was a request that they put in.”
The draft site plan also highlights a concern with Howard over the specific grouping of several turbines, which in his opinion appears to be abnormal and inefficient for wind generation. Howard said it appears that Invenergy Canada is simply fitting turbines wherever they can in order to get the project approved.
“In other areas, when they don’t have enough sites, that what they do to end up meeting their quota,” Howard said. “It’s largely based on nameplate capacity rather than actual production.”
The remainder of the turbines have been issued to landowners who have since expressed their opposition to the project, a collection of nine turbines shared amongst Doug Hoshel, Gary Kocher, Carl Reist and Koos Wilting. Howard said the current debate between the leaseholders and Inverngy’s lawyers is over the viability of the project going forward.
“Invenergy keeps insisting there is a viable project, and we take a look at it and say no there isn’t,” Howard said. “We’re stuck in that stage and not sure when we’re going to get out of that stage.”