Recommendations Big Thunder Wind Park Development



This topic has been a real “hot spot” for debate in our community recently and Thunder Bay citizens are entitled to let Council know that they are not pleased with Administration’s rush to Recommend approval of the so-called “new & improved” project.

 Visit the City’s website for maps and information.
Council may vote on Monday night to approve turbines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 8 and 9. THESE TURBINES ARE 141 METRES, 463 FT. TALL. THE REST OF THE TURBINES FOR PHASE 2 AND 3, ARE 161 METRES (528 FEET) AND 186 METRES (610 FEET) TALL. The further back they go, the larger the turbines; in fact some future turbines do not have any height restrictions at all!
In view of the number of changes to the project, Council needs to review the most current and relevant knowledge about wind farm developments, world-wide recommended set backs, the impact to our health, the natural environment and our future. Come and voice your concern!

On Friday, April 1st, 2011 City Administration released their public memorandum to the local media for Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.  That document outlines Administration’s Recommendations to Council regarding the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park development as set out to supposedly reach a compromise with Horizon Wind Inc.  In fact, that “compromise” will result in greater impacts on local residents and increase the City’s future financial liabilities.   

 It is Save the Northwesters message to Council, City Administration and the general public that absolutely NO decision should be made or encouraged on Monday night regarding the proposed turbine locations, road access, easements or turbine size on the Nor’Wester Mountains.  It is unfair and unacceptable to have such a recommendation posted on Friday afternoon, for a Monday evening meeting.  A postponement to allow for proper analysis and critique is necessary and warranted given the scope and significant changes to the project.  It will not hamper any required process Horizon Wind Inc. may have, since the Province has requested another Open House as part of Horizon’s final REA (Renewable Energy Approval) report.  Council has an obligation to its citizens to make the best informed decision, and not dismiss public input and concerns, particularly of those in South Neebing.

  The NMEPC is particularly concerned since it was promised a fair and transparent public forum and no opportunity from the City has been allowed to comment on this “new” compromise proposal.  There are so many changes to (and questions about) the project proposal that it seems incredulous that the City would even consider approval at this point.

It is our position that NO decision should be made by Council or Administration on Monday evening until all the proposed project amendments, turbine re-location, new view shed analysis, size, sound and health implications (turbine sizes are now 141, 161, 186 metres with some proposed without any height restrictions whatsoever) and all other Lease changes, etc., are effectively reviewed. 
We are confident that Council will act responsibly for their citizens before signing any Agreement which can and will have irreversible consequences. 

From the City Website Recomendation to Council

Update on Litigation Matter -
 Recommendations Regarding Approval of Big Thunder Wind Park Development

Memorandum from Ms. R. Evans, City Solicitor, dated April 1, 2011, containing a resolution, relative to the above noted. (Distributed Separately on Friday, April 1, 2011)

Visual Set One: Map of first 8 proposed turbine locations ("Beta" project) and set of 3 viewsheds of same
Visual Set Two: Map of Beta phase with "Potential" additional 10 turbines for Alpha phase and set of 3 viewsheds of same
Visual Set Three: Map Outlining Proposed Height/Location Limitations for Turbine Erections for Future Phases
(Distributed Separately on Friday, April 1, 2011)

 With respect to Report No. 2011CLS.013 (Legal Services), we recommend that Council approve the amendments to the Option Lease Agreement and Lease Agreement with Horizon as outlined in the City Solicitor's memorandum to Council dated April 1st, 2011;

AND THAT the City declare as surplus to municipal needs (for the purposes of the long-term lease of same) an area comprised of land within a two hundred (200m) meter radius around the base of each turbine, as well as the land required for transformers and substations, with the declaration to take effect when the sites for turbines, transformers and substations have been determined with precision for each lease;

AND THAT the City grant easements for access roads and transmission utility infrastructure to the site (as required) and between the turbines, over the optioned lands, and that the City further grant an easement over the unopened portion of the Loch Lomond Road Allowance for the same purposes, with the understanding that the construction of the physical road will not be undertaken unless and until Horizon has received final REA approval from the Province of Ontario;

AND THAT given the public meetings, public attention, news and media releases to date, Council considers that sufficient notice has been provided with respect to the surplus declarations and the granting of easements in accordance with its by-laws and policies in that regard;

AND THAT the lawsuit launched against the City by Horizon on October 19, 2010 be settled on the basis that the plaintiffs withdraw the suit on a "without costs" basis and the City withdraw its appeal of the January 16, 2011 decision of Mr. Justice Whittaker on a "without costs" basis, and that the plaintiffs release the City with respect to the allegations made in that lawsuit;

AND THAT the City Manager be authorized to sign all relevant paperwork to achieve the settlement, including any agreements required, in form and content satisfactory to the City Solicitor and outside legal counsel;

AND THAT any necessary by-laws be presented to Council for ratification.


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