Council gives green light to controversial wind turbine project on Amherst Island

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Amherst Island wind turbine project approved by council
Loyalist Township approves operations plan for 26 wind turbines on Amherst Island – Aug 10, 2017

On Wednesday night, Loyalist Township approved the operations plan for the controversial project that will see 26 wind turbines on Amherst Island.

There’s about 60 kilometres of road on Amherst Island. Windlectric Inc., a subsidiary of Algonquin Power, plans to reconstruct a third of them for their wind turbine project.

Construction already started earlier this year, long before the council vote, including an area for aggregate storage.

Amy Caughey’s family has lived on the island for more than 150 years.

She and her children attended Amherst Island Public School which is an area directly impacted by the project.

Her main worries are the noise, emissions and safety of the kids.

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“They chose the one square kilometre that’s directly adjacent to the school to put all of their construction and marshalling area and concrete plant,” said Caughey, an island landowner.

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The president of the Association to Protect Amherst Island says the province would save $500 million over 20 years by cancelling the project.

She’s disappointed with what she calls a lack of transparency on the township’s part.

“The township has not established very clearly what the boundary of the roads are. So owners are concerned that the property is going to be used without their consent,” said Michelle Lelay of the Association to Protect Amherst Island.

The mayor of Loyalist Township says it wasn’t an easy decision to approve the plans but their hands were tied since the contract for the project was signed by the McGuinty government.

“All those rights were taken away from us. Basically, we were handed a contract that they made… we didn’t see the contract. The obligation that we had to fulfil as a municipality. The provincial government was basically going to monitor and make sure we abided by the process,” said Mayor Bill Lowry.

Construction of a new dock and access road on the mainland, near Millhaven, is in full swing, as part of the 75 mega-watt project.

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The new dock will help with transportation of construction material to and from the island.

Our calls to Windlectric were unanswered but in a newsletter, the company says the project will generate 200 construction jobs with major construction starting as early as this fall, and turbines going up over the winter.

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