Residents of the west side of North Stormont Township are facing the prospect of living within the confines of an industrial power-generating facility for the next 20 to 40 years … not to be concerned though as [developer] EDPR is claiming that we have absolutely nothing to worry about from health, property-value, water-quality, noise, wildlife, and stray-voltage perspectives or other annoyances — plus we’ll have access to an EDPR-sponsored “Community Benefit Fund” which will improve our quality of life in North Stormont.
I am not one to take things at face value, therefore I decided to do my own “due diligence” by reading the mountain of documents put out by EDPR and piecing this information together with Ontario’s Green Energy Act. I have to say it’s all very complicated stuff with my eyes crossing and me quickly falling asleep after sitting down to do my research.
My wife saw that I was struggling with my research, therefore she suggested that we attend EDPR’s open house on June 27 in Finch “to speak to real people to get real answers.” We met EDPR officials and consultants from Houston, Chicago, Oregon, New Zealand, Toronto and Montreal, but unfortunately straight answers to simple questions were hard to come by at the meeting.
While sitting on my deck between downpours on Canada Day admiring our beautiful, peaceful, bucolic landscape and taking advantage of turbine-free sightlines while they last, I was struck with an epiphany and it became crystal clear to me how this project can be explained in simple terms to residents of North Stormont who, like me, may be struggling to understand all this corporate-speak.
It starts with a picture of a buffet table piled high with cold hard cash. Where does the cash come from, you may ask? Well, the cash is provided courtesy of Ontario ratepayers through inflated hydro bills and taxpayers through subsidies, tax benefits, etc.
Now picture the same buffet table but with a smaller yet still impressive pile of cold hard cash. Why did the pile of cash get smaller, you may ask? Well it’s because the Township of North Stormont did the right thing by listening to the majority of its citizens and voted overwhelmingly that they did not want wind power projects in the township.
Now visualize the people that have come to the party sitting around the buffet table to sort out who gets what slice of the cash piled onto the table.
A portion of the cash will go towards paying for the turbines and related construction costs, the participating landowners will be taking their cut, and EDPR will carve up their share of cash to ensure a “fair return on investment” to their parent company in Portugal.
Will the residents of North Stormont be invited to the party and have a seat at the buffet table, you may ask? Well, not really. The residents of North Stormont will be left with the “scraps” that have fallen off the buffet table during the feeding frenzy. This is the cash that EDPR is calling the “Community Benefit Fund,” a portion of which will go to SD&G.
And remember, the starting point was a smaller pile of cash, therefore the scraps that land on the floor will be very small and may be hard to find.
It’s as simple as that when you boil down the mountain of documents produced as part of this project.
It’s a crazy world that we live in but I remain optimistic the provincial authorities in Ontario responsible for approving this project will follow the leadership set by the Township of North Stormont, do the right thing and spike this project before shovels hit the ground in Q1 2018.
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