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Wind fight continues

The group opposed to a proposed South Neebing wind farm says it will draft a report to counter Horizon Wind’s recent Renewable Energy Approval Report, but group members admit that their report could take some time.
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(tbnewswatch.com file photo)
The group opposed to a proposed South Neebing wind farm says it will draft a report to counter Horizon Wind’s recent Renewable Energy Approval Report, but group members admit that their report could take some time.

The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee held its first open house Wednesday and hosted more than 90 people. The group members used the open house, and about 10 displays on information from economic concerns to the cultural heritage of the Nor’Westers, to inform the public on what they say is a bad idea for the city.

NMEPC member Irene Bond said the group wants the public to have as much information as possible about the mountain range and the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park Horizon Wind wants to put on top of it.

"We feel that this will be detrimental to Thunder Bay in more ways than one. We want them to be aware of it and to go away thinking this is not good for Thunder Bay and we need to make sure we don’t move forward with this in the proposed locations," Bond said.

With the release of Horizon’s Renewable Energy Approval Report draft last month, Bond said the public needs to know what the project would look like and what it would mean for the city.

While the group plans to make their own report on the draft, Bond said due to the size of the document, 700 pages, it will take some time.

Karl Piirik, also with NMEPC said he’s already had some issues with the report and doesn’t see all of the information he’s been looking for. Piirik added that the open houses, with another scheduled June 15 at Mary J L Black Library, are an opportunity for the public to get informed, something they haven’t been able to do before the report came out.

"Wind power has its advantages but this location is wrong," Piirik said. "I think everybody in Thunder Bay should look through the report."

Carmen Gordon, a resident in South Neebing, came to the open house to see if there was any new information about the project. She said she has concerns about how the city came to make the agreement with Horizion in 2007.

"I just wonder is it to our benefit or is it not to our benefit," Gordon said. "Who is to benefit from it?"

Ann Roddy also lives in the area. Roddy said if the Niagara Escarpment can be exempt from wind turbines, so should the Nor’Westers.

Roddy added that the range is a unique feature with geological and cultural significance just like Niagara. It may be because Thunder Bay is far away from Southern Ontario that an exemption is being overlooked.

"If anybody suggested that the nicest views in Ottawa, for instance, should be spoiled by putting up wind turbines practically the whole country would be up in arms," Roddy said. "We’re considering putting an eyesore on top of them and putting numerous roads and industrial connections on the sides and around the bottom and probably ruining the view of them for all time for what’s certainly not any guaranteed useful income or advantage to the region."