The province has officially closed the Big Thunder Wind Park file.
Horizon Wind Inc. proposed the controversial project that would see 16 wind turbines constructed on various sites in the south Neebing area of Thunder Bay. The project was first approved by city council in 2007, and soon after opponents of the proposal began to emerge.
Earlier this week the province confirmed that the application for the project had been officially denied and closed after the proponent failed to provide the province’s environmental registry with a response to impacts of the project on moose and moose habitat.
“That’s great news for our community,” said Fort William First Nations Chief Peter Collins. “Our community put a lot of effort into making our concerns heard. I think we put our message out there loud and clear on a regular basis: any development of any type, we as FN people have to be consulted.”
Fort William First Nations joined a vocal opposition later into the fight against the project after it was learned the proposals approved by council included traditional Fort William First Nations Territory.
The First Nation took issue with what they saw as a lack of consultation about the project and its potential impacts.
Concerns from Fort William First Nations about the moose and moose habitat, and Horizon Wind Inc.’s failure to address them, is what led to the official denial of the project.
Despite the project only being officially scrapped earlier this week, wind farm opposition group Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee members began their celebration in July of 2014.
That’s when the Ontario Power Authority had cancelled the Toronto-based company’s feed-in tariff contract, essentially ending the agreement to sell energy to the provincial grid.
Officials from the OPA said the project delays was the main reason for the decision.
Without the agreement in place, it was seen as nearly impossible for Horizon Inc. to continue with its plans for the Big Thunder Wind Park.