Wind turbine opponent spots flaws in environmental study
By Jonathan Charlton
A staunch opponent of the Hermanville-Clearspring wind turbine project says errors in the environmental impact assessment undermine government’s claim of high public support.
Ivor Sargent lives in Quebec but owns 89 acres of commercial investment property near Clearspring.
He has sent a three-part, 42 page critique of the project to the Department of Environment as it reviews the environment impact assessment, which was submitted by the PEI Energy Corporation.
Mr Sargent says his findings mean either there isn’t as much public support within the development zone as Energy Minister Wes Sheridan said or the minister is counting people outside the zone.
“Wes Sheridan has been trumpeting the 71 per cent support from people in the project zone, when in fact he doesn’t. The only people contacted to get waivers from were the people immediately inside that original (boundary).
“In fact, only nine people, according to the information I’ve got are in that original project zone appear on table 2.1. So he didn’t have anywhere near that kind of support.”
Mr Sargent points to errors in the assessment’s table identifying the properties within the project’s footprint.
He says there are 26 privately-owned parcels in the area but only nine are listed in the table.
As well, he says 38 of the 47 property identification numbers in the table are actually outside the original boundaries of the project.
He provided a copy of his submissions to The Graphic and his observations appear accurate.
The assessment sets out Souris Line Road as the eastern boundary of the footprint. According to the province’s online map system, many of the properties Mr Sargent singles out do border that road but on the eastern side near Harmony Junction, putting them outside the area in question.
One property is located as far south and east as New Harmony Road, which is about five kilometres away.
The PEI Energy Corporation declined comment on the Environmental Impact Study while it is before regulators.
Mr Sheridan did say in August that 19 of 25 primary and secondary landowners - those living inside the development zone - signed a land use agreement, as did 22 of 33 tertiary landowners, all of whom were eligible for compensation depending on the placement of the turbines.
The minister said then he was pleased with the “huge majority.”
Mr Sargent also criticizes the original boundary of the project set out last summer which he said is different than the one in the assessment.
“If people had been informed that the project zone was actually going to the roadside of Route 16 it may have made a difference in peoples’ opinions, because (in) the revised project zone, you’ve got an industrial complex immediately beside a public highway. This was not made known.”
He also doesn’t believe the assessment when it predicts the turbines
won’t decrease property values.
“They’re trying to tell me I won’t have any problems with property devaluation? Who are they kidding? I’ve got a subdivision zoned based on 12 quiet residential lots in a tranquil rural community which is not 20 metres away from 30 megawatt industrial wind farm.”