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:
- Township Executive Summary (pages 1 through 9)
- Hatch Construction and Operations Memo (pages 10 through 16)
- Hatch Transportation Memo (pages 17 through 33)
- 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
Loyalist Township and Algonquin lawyers both studied what the rules are for Algonquin’s use of the road system on Amherst Island. Apparently they essentially agreed that Algonquin has the right to use the road right-of-ways in pretty much any way they want to, as long as the repair or pay for the damage. The township issued a letter that contained their understanding.
In a recent posting I mentioned the letter written by the Loyalist Township engineering director to the council regarding the “extensive” changes that may be necessary to the Amherst Island roads, including a reference to Wolfe Island’s history with its roads. In response, John Harrison prepared a nice 5-page report on just how destruction might be in store, and he also included references to Wolfe Island’s history.
In his report, John recommended that the council do nothing for the time being, as the project may never happen, and entering into any sort of contract with Algonquin at this point would be premature. In the end, the council decided to take the engineer’s option #2, which was to ask their lawyer if they could delay any decision.
Algonquin and Loyalist Township have been having discussions about how Algonquin would use the township roads on AI to transport these very large components off the “temporary” dock and into position. Its gotten to the point to where David Thompson, director of engineering for the township, has placed the issue on the council’s agenda for their November 14, 2011 meeting. Naturally Algonquin and Stantec will always try to minimize the impact of what they are about to do, but read through the following passage and just think what all could (actually, read that as “would”) be included in their plans.
“Due to the size of the structures being considered there will likely need to be considerable temporary or possible permanent realignment of some roads so that the structures can be erected and the electrical transmission corridors developed.”
How should the township respond? Thompson provides 3 basic possibilities: (1) put it off until later, (2) run to the solicitor, and (3) have the staff work it out, perhaps negotiating for something like what Wolfe did. I wander if Thompson has checked with Wolfe to see how well #3 worked out. My information was that after construction CHD abandoned the roads and simply paid the township there some unknown sum to clean things up – which apparently hasn’t been completed yet.
One other tidbit. The township has apparently been shown the map of where the turbines are going, and that map will be available at the public meetings. We’ll see.