Locals incur “tens of thousands of dollars” in debt fighting Nation Rise project during Ford mandate

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks now opposing release of project approval documents, says letter writer, also chastising gov’t for “hanging us out to dry”

The Editor:

As you are aware, on May 8th, 2018, an Ontario Election was called.  For the residents of North Stormont this meant some hope as the PC’s ran largely on a promise to control energy costs and cancel all pre-construction Wind Turbine Projects.  We the residents ran to the polls in droves and made sure that we voted for the party “we thought” would best represent us. Because of our support, the PC’s won 61.5% of the vote; a record. A promising start, but today we find ourselves very disappointed, to say the least.

What we know so far is that on May 4th, the MOECC granted a highly conditional renewable energy approval for the Nation Rise Wind project followed by the IESO contractual approval on May 7th.  The timing is particularly interesting as it is mere days before the election is called.  The community is reassured by our MPP that there is still hope in cancelling this project by going to the Environmental Review Tribunal. We pull together, set fundraising goals and hire a lawyer. We still had hope for a positive outcome.  We are tens of thousands of dollars in debt and where are we now?

During the Tribunal, our MPP assured us that the ministry lawyers in “Downtown Toronto” are going through this contract line by to try and find a loop hole.  I advised our MPP I thought he was wrong. Ministry lawyers are sitting side by side with EDPR’s Bay Street lawyers, both of whom cross examined me as I testified at the Tribunal.  What is the truth or will we ever know? Was he hoping I would still believe him? Or would I just go away?

Part way through the process I made two separate requests for documents through the Freedom of Information (FOI) office of the now Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, (MECP) and the IESO for documents relating to the approval process.  This has been so strongly opposed that I am more confident than ever that this will give answers that will help our community understand why this approval seemed so rushed by the outgoing Government.

From the time of my request made in early mid-November to date I have not received one single bit of information.  In fact, I am forced into an appeal process with the IESO because a “third party” mentioned in the information I am attempting to obtain is appealing the release of the documents. So here I sit, a private citizen working against Bay Street lawyers to try and protect my well water.

As stated in your article last week, our MPP is saying that it will cost one billion dollars to cancel this project.  I would like to know where they get that number? Has he reviewed the contract? His office was provided with lots of information about possible ways to cancel this project.  How can it be $1-billion if it is still pre-construction? Instead of dealing with the issue, will it be quietly dumped onto hydro ratepayers leaving North Stormont to carry all the costs of loss of property value, risks to health and livelihood, loss of quiet enjoyment of property? In the rush to be open for business have the lawyers really looked at it or were they too busy trying to mount a defence in favour of a project whose sole beneficiary is a large foreign corporation? After all, what is the risk to the PC party? A few less votes in a largely blue riding?  

Shame on our government for hanging us out to dry.  Resentment is reaching a boiling point by those already suffering under grandfathered old outdated noise standards from 2008. Thousands of complaints are outstanding and not resolved. This a decade later, and we are to suffer the same fate? Are we to be quiet?

Why am I asking you, “The Editor,” where the $1-billion number comes from and how they propose to protect us if these massive unregulated turbines are allowed to be built? I ask, simply because my MPP has yet to answer any of my emails.

Next time the PC fundraisers call and ask for financial support, I will tell them that the answer to that question is “blowing in the wind.”

Julie Cyr
Resident North Stormont

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