DRESDEN - Theo Heuvelmans pulls no punches when it comes to his opinion about industrial wind turbines – he doesn't like them.
The main reason is his concern about the impact the wind turbines being constructed for the North Kent 1 Wind Farm project – in the Chatham and Dover Township areas of Chatham-Kent – will have on the wildlife that inhabits the 36-acre woodlot that is part of his home property near Dresden.
So last year, when a representative from AECOM Canada, an engineering consulting firm hired by the wind farm developers Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy, asked for permission to study his woodlot, the answer was a firm no.
Heuvelmans said this was followed by an order to get off his property.
However, company officials persisted, even “begging me to let them come on my property,” according to Heuvelmans.
He said they told him they wanted to bring in some biologists to study the woodlot, because if there were bats in the area, it could impact where turbines could be located.
After being told it could be “to your benefit and our benefit,” Heuvelmans said, “I thought maybe they would verify my concerns about the wildlife.”
He added he asked to be informed about what they found.
After agreeing to providing access, Heuvelmans said several times throughout the spring and summer last year, biologists as well as biology students from the University of Guelph, freely roamed his property.
Shortly after the biologist stopped coming to his property, he said, “I phoned up to get a report and the windmill company hasn't even had the decency to call back.
“I have no report,” Heuvelmans added. “I don't know why the were on my property.”
An official with AECOM Canada contacted The Chatham Daily News late Wednesday afternoon and said a response was anticipated to be provided from a wind company spokesperson.
The Daily News contacted a media person with Pattern Energy on Friday and received an e-mail response that the matter was being looked into.
A follow-up e-mail were sent on Wednesday, but no response had been received by deadline.
Heuvelmans said he has planted thousands of trees on his property, including eight acres of meadow, to make it a haven for wildlife. Now he's worried about the impact these turbines will have on the property, especially two turbines that will be built nearby the woodlot.
In an effort to try to ensure the woodlot remains there for generations, he went to the expense of having it severed from his home property and rezoned as open space to protect it.
Heuvelmans also said he never lets anyone hunt in the woodlot, which has remained virtually untouched from the time he purchased it in 1973.