THUNDER BAY – An issue that it is likely will be a major factor in the Neebing Ward, and the At Large races at City Council will heat up on Monday. City Council is set to hear from Dillon Consulting Limited, a company City Administration has hired to review the Horizon Wind Farm proposal.
That move has raised the ire of Richard Moorey, as well as the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee.
Moorey states, “Was a little disheartened at the lack of candidates in attendance at the Wind Farm information BBQ at the Neebing. There must have been 150-200ppl there.
“To the best of my knowledge the only peron currently in office that was there was Linda Rydholm. Interesting to see the lack of interest by council in such a large group of its citizens. Lack of time? Or lack of courage to face the people that they are railroading?”
The NMEPC in a press statement comments, “This company, Dillon Consulting Limited, is a registered member of CANWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association), a wind lobby group in favour of wind energy. Dillon Consulting Limited has been selected by Administration to review the Horizon Wind proposal; they have worked with Horizon on at least one other project”.
Members of the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee (NMEPC) are concerned that the additional information City Council requested from Horizon (last month) may not have been received or reviewed by Dillon. Horizon was to provide further information regarding 16 specific issues & comments relating to the Renewable Energy Act document, resulting from discussions of a previous Council Meeting.
“Ironically, the NMEPC has been refused a Request for Deputation for October 4th, 2010, on the same evening Dillon Consulting was to provide an update to the Committee of the Whole,” NMEPC President Irene Bond noted. “This is one of the most important issues facing our community; and at the most important night where additional information was being brought to Council, we were not allowed to speak”.
“More importantly, we were not allowed the opportunity to review – or even know – what this Consultant has prepared! We would have appreciated the opportunity to review what this consultant has provided, in an appropriate amount of time, before we speak. City Council won’t even have time to review and digest Dillon’s information since it wasn’t included in their Agenda packages and it wasn’t online either.”
Dillon is scheduled to make their first presentation report to Council Monday evening. On Sept. 20, City Council directed Administration to engage an external expert to review information requested on the project, particularly with respect to financial data on each turbine and view sheds that illustrate their locations, and report back on Oct. 4, 2010.
“This is a complex matter and important to the community,” said Tim Commisso, City Manager. “The City has engaged a leading expert to assist us in being both thorough and timely in reviewing the proposed project.
“The City has publicly promised an open and transparent process and yet it appears that there is a hidden agenda and decisions are still being made behind closed doors,” charges Bond.
“The current Option to Lease has the expiration date of November 14th, 2012, (an extension to which both Horizon and Council agreed) so it would appear that City Council is rushing to make more decisions without proper knowledge and perhaps support an endorsement of the turbine locations without an adequate review timeframe”.
At their summer Open Houses, Horizon representatives were quoted as saying, “We won’t put them (the turbines) back….because we won’t.” This answer is a sample of the type of brick wall NMEPC members have found themselves faced with since the so-called “public process” started. Lack of open, honest and clear communication with Council, Administration and the proponent has left the South Neebing residents frustrated and upset”.