On January 2, 2014, the MOE posted the Amherst Island project on the EBR for public comment. This is a significant step forward for the project, as the MOE now regards the draft documents Algonquin submitted as complete, in spite of widespread submissions that the draft documents were anything but. Within 10 days of the posting, Algonquin was due to post their final documents, and the 60-day window for public comments would begin.
But a strange thing happened. Within the description of the EBR posting, the area being studied was listed as Lots 29 to 76 in Concessions 1, 2 and 3. If this were true, it would reduce the project to a fraction of what it was originally – of the 36 turbines in the draft plan only 16 are left. Below is a clickable picture with the original turbines in red and the “new” project area in green.
For the human residents of Amherst, this new picture was very good. It eliminated most of the turbines that were close to the far more numerous shoreline properties. I and most of the anti-wind campaigners didn’t put much credence in this picture, as it almost certainly would have made the project non-viable.
However, the lot and concession numbers were not accidental. If the MOE wanted a project that protected the residents as opposed to one that provided Algonquin with profits, this is what they’d likely come up with. So maybe, just maybe, the MOE finally decided to stand up to the wind industry and actually protect the neighbors.
Numerous inquiries were made of all the appropriate parties. By Monday the 6th, it was reported by Algonquin (not the MOE, curiously) that the EBR posting was inaccurate and that the project remained basically unchanged from the draft documents, and that the posting would be corrected. Dutifully, on January 7 the January 2 EBR posting was replaced with the offending location now changed to “Various locations, Loyalist Township, County of Lennox and Addington”. Algonquin’s deadline was also moved back, as was the 60-day public comment period.
“Various locations”? Are they kidding? The MOE posts it and isn’t aware, apparently, of the locations where the project will have impacts? This entire episode raises a number of questions. What was the intention of the MOE by posting it? You cannot creditably claim it was a typographical error. Perhaps the MOE had several alternative project plans and grabbed the wrong folder when it came time for the posting. But that’s a pretty significant miscue on the MOE’s part, indicating at the least that the MOE is fundamentally incompetent.
Other explanations are worse. Was the January 2 posting a surprise to Algonquin? Did Algonquin call the MOE to complain? Did the MOE, in response to the call, make the changes? If this scenario was the case, we shift from fundamental incompetence to outright corruption. Or, was this the MOE’s idea of a sick joke, something to give the natives some hope before dashing it. Now we’re into psychopathic corruption, something North Korea seems to be fond of.
Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario premier, has made noises about running a more transparent government, particularly with regard to the wind turbine issue. So far, that’s all it’s been – noises. This would be an excellent time for her to show us all that she means what she says; by performing an investigation that supplies us with truthful answers to these and other questions about this affair. I am not holding my breath.