Tag Archives: APAI

APAI Goes to Court

APAI, the Association to Protect Amherst Island, has filed a lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that contests the MOE’s acceptance of Windlectric/Algonquin’s proposal as complete.  The objective of the suit is to get the court to review the MOE’s acceptance and discover how the MOE didn’t follow the requirements of the law when they issued this acceptance.  And finding such, to overturn the acceptance and force the MOE to force Windlectric to do a more serious study of the project’s impacts before proceeding.

LINKS

The Kingston Whig article, March 6, 2014

APAI, Press Release

WeirFoulds, serving papers

APAI on Public Safety

APAI has recently sent a letter to the MOE detailing the problems the project has with respect to handling emergencies.  It goes for 11 well-written pages, followed by a 3-page snailmail/email exchange with Ontario’s fire marshall. Careful if you’re on dial-up, it’s almost 15 MB, due to the pictures.  I recommend reading the letter in its entirety.  It is remarkable just how vulnerable the island would be.

APAI, Public Safety Letter

The letter starts out be reminding the MOE of the requirements of the GEA for the proponent to create:  “measures to provide information regarding the activities occurring at the project location including emergencies.”  The letter goes on to remark on the following 10 aspects of emergency responses:

  1. Municipal consultation form:  Loyalist has rejected the submission as inadequate.  Earlier post.
  2. Island contraints: everything must come by ferry.
  3. Water supply: must be sucked out of the lake, no hydrants or other supply.
  4. Fire department: good people, limited equipment.  Earlier post.
  5. Island roads: lightly traveled, not up to mainland standards.
  6. Ambulance protocol: the ambulance must come from the mainland.
  7. Response times: first responder averaged almost 12 minutes, ambulance averages over 30.
  8. Fire incidence: especially marsh fires.  Earlier post. And this.
  9. Turbine emergencies: no way for local department to handle.
  10. Turbine toxicity:  there’s some nasty stuff up there.

The simple fact is that Algonquin has never submitted any even minimally-acceptable emergency plans, and the MOE seems not to care.  As their proposal has been deemed “complete” we the public have only until March 9 to comment upon it.  But how can anyone comment on something that doesn’t exist?

The 3-page exchange at the end is also illuminating (it’s in reverse chrono order).  Deborah Barrett writes to the Ontario fire marshal asking for his assistance in getting the MOE/Algonquin to come up with an acceptable plan.  He replies after a month that the GEA requires municipal consultation.  Apparently he believes that this should be sufficient.  I guess he has a different idea of what constitutes “consultation” than the MOE, which thinks of it as a one-way deal.  Debby quickly responds that the project is proceeding regardless of any municipal consultation.

The proponent and the MOE will likely dismiss all of this as just Nimby Noise, saying that the odds of an emergency are pretty small.  I’d agree, they may be small, but they are not trivially small.  Regardless of how large or small they may be, it is pretty much standard practice in modern western countries to have plans, people, equipment and materials in place to handle problems.  I guess those standard practices are no longer being followed in Ontario.

APAI Letter to Wynne

APAI wrote a letter to Kathleen Wynne late in January, requesting that her government take a look at the cumulative effects of all the industrial projects now underway on and around Amherst Island.  Right now there are 4 major projects in the works: Windlectric’s wind turbines, MOT’s ferry dock, TransCanada’s gas generating plant and LaFarge’s cement plant expansion.  As the letter states, “To call this ‘public consultation’ is ludicrous. It is simply impossible for the Association and the Island community to make meaningful comment when the Government has not put in place the processes required to fully understand the impact of multiple concurrent projects.”

The letter is 3 pages long and is well worth a read, and provides a sense of just how angry most island residents are at the government’s continuing disregard for their welfare.  The last 4 pages are copies of the public notifications of 3 of the 4 projects (LaFarge hasn’t been published yet).

APAI, Letter to Wynne

APAI Bulletin #8

APAI published bulletin #8 several weeks ago and I am just now getting caught up and posting it here.  It deals mostly with giving ideas to those who want to send a comment into the MOE following Windlectric’s application being deemed “complete”.  The public comment period runs until March 8, 2014 and I would urge everyone to write in and voice their opinions on the project.  Unfortunately, the MOE seems to be completely under the control of the developers, so I cannot offer much hope that any comment will have any effect.  Still, if you do comment at least you know you did what you could to stop this project.

APAI Bulletin #8

APAI – Fire and Decommissioning

In the last month APAI has written two more letters to the powers-that-be.  The first one concerns fire protection and the second decommissioning.

First, fire protection.  Back in October of 2011 the Ontario Fire Service, part of the Ontario Ministry of Labor, issued a Guidance Notice concerning fires in wind turbines. This Guidance Notice contained a list of general planning steps that were recommended.

“In cooperation with the wind turbine owner, fire departments should develop response safety plans that address issues such as:
1) Access to sites and contact numbers (24/7) for site supervisory staff
2) Safe collapse zones
3) Rescue options for workers trapped in the nacelle in non-fire situations
4) High-voltage components and combustible materials within the wind turbine.”

In February of 2013 APAI sent a letter to Algonquin, asking if Algonquin had prepared such plans.  No answer was ever received, leading APAI to conclude that “Algonquin is ignoring ‘Fire Fighters Guidance Note # 6-35: Issue: wind turbines,’ and, apparently does not consider safety from fire on Amherst Island to be a priority.”

In August 2013  APAI wrote a letter to the Minister of Labor, seeking “further advice on this matter.” 

APAI, Letter to Minister of Labor, plus attachments

Second, decommissioning.  Algonquin has stated that it is responsible for decommissioning the turbines at the end of their lives.  What they haven’t done, and are apparently unwilling to do, is to put up a bond or escrow to insure that this is done.  Algonquin is claiming, in what seems to be an industry-wide practice, that the salvage value of the turbines is enough to provide for their decommissioning.

There are at least two problems with this.  (1) what about the stuff that has no recycling value?  Or, even worse, no method of safe disposal at all?  The blades come to mind.  (2) Will the salvage value actually cover the decommissioning?

John Harrison did some research and discovered that the value of the materials, in current dollars, is a little over $6M, while the labor to install the turbines (and probably close to the labor to take them down, according to Stantec) is somewhere about $100M.  Recall that these materials are on an island and will have to be taken down and transported to an industrial recycler.

In August 2013 APAI sent a letter to Algonquin, reviewing these numbers and opining that these costs (assuming Algonquin actually ends up being responsible for them) make the Amherst Island project that much worse of a business proposition.

APAI, Letter to Algonquin re Decommissioning

Letters! APAI Bulletin #5

APAI has released Bulletin #5.  This one focuses on the MNR’s EBR (that’s the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environmental Bill of Rights) Registry entries regarding the wind project at Amherst Island.  The first EBR (#011-9446) was published on July 10, 2013 and concerns the harming of 3 threatened bird species.  The second (#011-9443) was published on July 17, 2013 and concerns allowing Algonquin the use of Ontario crown land, namely the lakebed.  The bulletin gives all the details on how you can write letters to the MNR to let them know how you feel about these matters.

LINKS

APAI, Bulletin #5

MNR, EBR Search Page, where you can enter the above numbers and look at what they’ve posted.

Kill, Harm, Harass, and APAI #4

On July 10, 2013, the Ontario MNR published a notice on the EBR for Amherst Island.  The project developer, Algonquin/Winlectric, requested a permit since their project “has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat“,  all of which are threatened.  One has to ask, what part of green is a project that has these types of adverse effects?

APAI just issued bulletin #4 which exhorts people to write responses and send them to the MNR.  No doubt APAI will have its own response as well.

LINK

APAI, Bulletin #4

Bolstered by Ostrander

The Kingston Whig has a short article with APAI’s (in the person of Peter Large) reaction to the Environmental Review Tribunal’s reversal of the Ostrander Point project.  He said most opposition people were happy that, finally, a project got turned down.  Whether that will help or even possibly hurt the chances of stopping the Amherst Island project remains to be seen.  A case can be made either way.

LINK

Kingston Whig-Standard, July 5, 2013, Wind Farm Opponents Bolstered by Decision

Ostrander and Bulletin #3

Just yesterday the environmental review tribunal revoked the MOE’s approval for Gilead’s Ostrander Point project.  This was the very first time in Ontario that a wind project has been rejected.  I’m not sure what recourse Gilead has at this point.  I imagine they could come up with a new plan and new mitigations but at some point you’d think they would just cut their losses and run.  The fact that Gilead is willing to undergo all this effort and expense for 9 wind turbines shows just how lucrative they must be.

This ruling may be important for Amherst Island, as they are close together (30km), have similar characteristics and similar wildlife issues, including Blanding’s turtles.  APAI issued bulletin #3, which celebrated the Ostrander Point decision and related its relevance for Amherst Island.

LINK

APAI, Bulletin #3

In the News Yet Again

Amherst Island has been in the news a lot recently.  The Heritage Canada listing, the blade disposal headline, and now a TV news story, titled “After years of dismissing rural opposition, the winds of change appear to be blowing in Ontario”. The reporter interviewed 3 members of APAI (Peter Large, John Harrison and Mark Raymond) and none of them indicated they thought enough had changed to prevent the project from going ahead.

LINK

CKWS-TV, News Story, June 28, 2013

And the Blades?

Wind turbines are indisputably large industrial machines and just because they can produce “green” energy doesn’t mean that they are themselves in any way “green”.  Quite the contrary.  As just one example, think about the blades.  They are large and made of non-recyclable materials.  There’s lots of them and they wear out fairly quickly.   How does one dispose of them?  Other than dumping them alongside a road, that is.

APAI has written a letter to the MOE asking about these issues and so far hasn’t received a reply.  No surprise there.  The Kingston Whig picked the story up and it made front page headlines.

The article’s byline emphasizes that the protestors on Amherst are “trying a new tack” in their efforts to get Algonquin to abandon the project.  This makes it sound like they will try anything and everything to stop it.  That is certainly so, and there is a danger that by raising lots of objections none of them are taken seriously.  The problem is that wind turbines have a large number of downsides to them, all of which are substantive.  So I presume APAI will continue to point them all out, even at the risk of dilution.  Certainly the disposal of the blades is something for which no plan currently exists in Ontario.

LINK

Kingston Whig Standard, article, June 28, 2013

Heritage Canada

Rather quickly after Bulletin #1, APAI has released Bulletin #2.  This bulletin was mostly concerned with Hertitage Canada’s recent inclusion of Amherst Island in its “top ten” list of endangered places in Canada.

apai-bulletin-2

The announcement was noticed by several Ontario-based newspapers and organizations.  Whether it will have any effect on the government remains to be seen.  As the Heritage Canada spokesperson said, it is an awareness-raising effort on their part, and we thank them for including us.

LINKS

APAI Bulletin #2

Heritage Canada, Top Ten for 2013

Heritage Canada, AI Listing

Barr Letter in the Toronto Star

Kingston Whig Standard Article

Wind Concerns Ontario posting

Ontario Wind Resistance posting

APAI to Council – Roads

The roads on Amherst Island were never designed for the type of traffic that the wind energy project will require.  Algonquin has contracted with Hatch Ltd., an engineering consulting firm, to figure out what infrastructure changes are needed.  Hatch has sent the Loyalist Council several reports on what some of these changes are as well as a draft agreement for the Council to look at.

The Council put several of them together in one document with 4 sections:

  1. Township Executive Summary (pages 1 through 9)
  2. Hatch Construction and Operations Memo (pages 10 through 16)
  3. Hatch Transportation Memo (pages 17 through 33)
  4. Windlectric Draft Road Use Agreement (pages 34 through 43)

It makes for depressing reading.  11,000 truck loads!  A cement plant on the Island!  A 10 by 50m “temporary” dock!

The Township had a number of problems with the reports as detailed in their summary, most importantly involving how the roads will be strengthened and then maintained.

APAI has drafted a response which points out a variety of problems with Hatch’s reports, most importantly involving the impacts on the residents of the island.  The APAI response included two appendices, the first one of which related the damage to Wolfe Island’s environment caused by the construction of the project over there.  The same promises that we hear for Amherst were made there, to no effect.  The second appendix  involves threatened species’ nesting sites and will remain confidential for now, mainly so nobody goes out and fixes the problem by destroying the nests.

Loyalist Township, Combined Road Document

Loyalist Township, Combined Road Document Backup

APAI, Road Response, November 2012

APAI, Road Response, Appendix A

APAI to Fire Marshall

Peter Large, on behalf of APAI, wrote a letter to the Ontario Fire Marshall going over the events of  November 3.  The circumstances surrounding that fire were fairly conducive to bringing it under control with little damage (immediately noticed and reported, small initial start, light winds, leftover moisture from Sandy).  But still it took 19 hours and involved several departments from the mainland, and ended up burning 200 acres.

What bothers Peter, and many of us, is that Algonquin surrounds our homes with an industrial complex and then has no requirements to supply any fire protection at all, instead relying on a volunteer department that has one pumper and one tanker.  What other industry is allowed, even encouraged, to put the neighbors at this level of risk?

APAI, Letter to Fire Marshall, November 23, 2012

Pictures

The School Flyer

Saveai/APAI has put out a 2-page flyer that discusses just how close turbine #6 is to the Amherst Island public school. I presume it will be distributed around the area in some manner.  The pictures offer a dramatic presentation of just how close this unit is.

Saveai/APAI AIPS Flyer

I had posted on the same issue several weeks ago.  To give you another view of the situation, below is a Google Earth 3-D picture of what it looks like (which is clickable to enlarge).

Dueling Letters

CAIRE (Citizens of Amherst Island for Renewable Energy, I think) is the organization on Amherst that supports the project there.  As far as I know, all of CAIRE’s members (or someone in their families) have a financial interest in this project.  Back in August they sent a letter to the Loyalist Council asking for Council’s support of the project.

CAIRE (Eric Welbanks, I presume) Letter to Council, dated August 7, 2012

APAI (Association to Protect Amherst Island, I think) is one of the organizations that opposes the project.  Shortly after CAIRE’s letter, they sent a response.

APAI (Peter Large) Response to Council, dated August 29, 2012

APAI on the Health Canada Study

Health Canada, an agency at the Canadian federal level, announced a study of the health effects of wind turbines several months ago.  While any study is welcome, the history of government-abetted coverups of the problems has made most opponents wary.  The initial study proposal looked pretty good for a start, including (for example) actually measuring the noise at even the low frequencies and actually going out into the field (unlike almost all previous health “studies”).

But still there were some indications that this study wasn’t being set up to be a truly honest and serious attempt to get at the truth.  Echoing those concerns, APAI has published a letter to the Health Minister and a supporting commentary.  Having read all the studies mentioned in the commentary, I can vouch for the its accuracy.

APAI, Letter to HC Minister Aglukkaq

APAI, Commentary on the HC Study